It’s only taken about a million years, but someone has finally decided that improvements are possible in automobile braking lights. Students from Virginia Tech have developed a new system that can show not just whether you’re stopping, but if you’re slowing down, when you’re about to stop, and how quickly you’re pressing the pedal. The concept uses an array of horizontally arranged LED lights — when you begin to slow, lights in the center glow orange, after a certain threshold side lights turn to red, and if you’re slamming on the brake, they’ll all flash red. The team, led by mechanical engineering Professor Mehdi Ahmadian, has plans for the system beyond the lab, though they speculate that it will be easier to add them as additional indicators on commercial vehicles at first. If this pans out, someday soon we may all be tailgating a totally psychedelic light show.
Hmmm…. Someone has commented pointing out that BMW offer ‘Adaptive Brake Lights’ as an optional extra:
“Bumper-to-bumper collisions most often occur when the driver behind you didn’t realize how hard you were braking. Our Adaptive Brake Lights help eliminate that scenario by emitting a larger, brighter light the more force you use. It allows those behind you to clearly see whether you”re lightly tapping the brakes to slow down or applying full force for a sudden stop.”