On a Friday payday, the worst thing that could happen is to get stuck in standstill traffic as the flash floods rise. One minute it’s gutter deep, the next minute, you’re panicking that water will get in your car's exhaust pipe. Don’t you wish your car can transform into a boat once it senses flash floods – like a flood-proof Autobot?
Let’s admit it. Driving in the Philippines is not the most pleasant experience for anyone. (Side note: right now, we’re bracing for the 3-month-long Christmas rush. Crazy, isn’t it?) If the technology gods are listening, here’s what a Pinoy driver’s early Christmas list looks like.
1) Amphibious cars, jeeps, and trikes
Many innovative Filipinos have tried introducing amphibious vehicles in the market, some with retractable wheels; some powered by adjustable outriggers like boats. Here's a few of them: CROC of OPCENTEC, to Salamander of H2O Technologies, and Batangas State University’s jeepney called TOAD. The idea is simple: we need vehicles that could navigate properly both on land and in water due to floods, disasters, and that we’re simply an archipelagic country.
As is always the case, these innovations need support and funding to be produced commercially. As of now, most of them are prototypes.
2) Anti-theft vehicle tracker that works even when the engine is off
The Philippine National Police reported that at least 6,500 cars were stolen between July 2016 and June 2017. It went down from the last period’s 10,000 carnapping incidents. Many after sales company offer GPS tracking devices that allow you to track your vehicle, especially for rented ones.
Some even allow owners to shut down the engine of the stolen car – that is if the carnapper doesn’t find out that your car has a tracking device installed first. What would be a helpful technology is an anti-theft system that allows you to track your car even when the engine is off without draining your vehicle’s battery.
3) Night vision
Not all roads in the Philippines are well-lit. It is especially tricky if you happen to pass by strips of rice paddies when you’re going out of town. Drivers at night could easily get startled when a pedestrian or an animal crosses the street.
Luxury makers like Mercedes Benz, Aud, Cadillac, and BMW are equipped with passive night vision systems using advanced infrared sensors and smart algorithm able to detect and identify cars, humans, and even animals. These alert the driver ahead of time to avoid unfortunate accidents.
Ford is planning to introduce the technology in the next release of the Fiesta. Toyota, for its part, helped fund new research looking into improving night vision technology as inspired by nocturnal animals.
4) Car-to-car communication system
UV Express drivers in the city are like, “5-3 na dito. Copy?” “Dito naman sa 54, kilo na.” (Translation: “Traffic na dito.” “Dito naman sa EDSA okay na.”) They use this reliable radio communication system to inform other drivers in advance whether there’s a cop or a vehicular accident along their routes.
Wouldn’t it be better if vehicles are smart enough to communicate among themselves, sending data such as speed, location, brake and steering status, and direction via short-range radio? It’s like Waze but rather than crowdsourcing information, it’s automated. Many self-driving cars are already equipped with sensor systems that can send these types of information, but the range is limited.
5) An alternative to the traffic light system
Elsewhere in the globe, a yellow traffic light means you have to slow down and a red light means stop. In the Philippines, a yellow traffic light pushes the driver to cross the intersection faster, beating the red light most of the time. Just look at how many people die due to road crashes and reckless driving in the country. In 2014 alone, close to 9,000 were killed in road accidents, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are studying an alternative: a slot-based system based on mathematical modeling that would make sure the vehicles can get to the intersection smoothly at exactly the time that they have a slot. The key here is to keep the vehicles moving, even at a slower pace. – Rappler.com