Engineers from the University of Surrey have been developing a new eco-friendly technology which could potentially increase the safety of roads. The eco-friendly energy-harvesting sensor works by identifying potentially dangerous driver behavior using Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs), which harvest mechanical energy from daily human activities.
When paired with an AI system and applied in a car setting, the smart sensor could flag potentially dangerous trends and habits, including slow break reaction times. Whilst the tests were being conducted the sensor provided real-time feedback on the drivers actions, which allowed the AI system to calculate performance and provide the researchers with valuable data.
Dr Bhaskar Dudem, principal author of the study and Research Fellow at the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute, said: "We are all excited by how AI will influence future consumer electronics, but this future must also be friendly to our planet's environment. Our recycled silk-based smart sensor technology is a hint of what the future holds and, with support from industry, we believe we can soon bring it to market."
In order to create this eco-friendly sensor the engineers used recycled plastic cups and silk cocoon waste to develop a soft and skin-friendly self-powered sensor, which they vision could be used as a wearable item on clothing or used within the fabrics of the car in places such as the steering wheel, gear stick and brake pedal. Placing the sensors in locations such as these will allow valuable data to be measured in order to create a safer driving environment on roads.
Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI said: "Whilst in this example we tested our sensors to monitor driver behaviour, we believe the ideal application of the self-powered smart sensor technology is in future driverless cars