We have already been promised smart cars that automatically transmit an alarm call after a crash. Now US chip-maker Texas Instruments has plans for a personalised equivalent – a cellphone or PDA that does the same job no matter which vehicle you’re travelling in.
An accelerometer built into the device detects any violent shock and compares the acceleration profile of the event with a library of others. This allows the device to distinguish between a safe event, such as the device being dropped, and a genuine road accident.
If the detected profile looks serious, the device will automatically dial an emergency service number, such as 911, and transmit a recorded message. A device with built-in GPS could also transmit its location.
In addition, the device could bleep before transmitting its message. So if the sensor has been triggered accidentally and the owner is not hurt, the call could quickly be cancelled. In the future, devices could also sense heat, smoke and water to warn that the owner is in other kinds of trouble, says Texas Instruments.