South Korea radar and thermal camera system warns ‘smartphone zombies’ of traffic

ILSAN, South Korea (Reuters) – A city in South Korea, which has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, has installed flickering lights and laser beams at a road crossing to warn “smartphone zombies” to look up and drivers to slow down, in the hope of preventing accidents.

The designers of the system were prompted by growing worry that more pedestrians glued to their phones will become casualties in a country that already has some of the highest road fatality and injury rates among developed countries.

State-run Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) believes its system of flickering lights at zebra crossings can warn both pedestrians and drivers.

In addition to red, yellow and blue LED lights on the pavement, “smombies” – smartphone zombies – will be warned by laser beam projected from power poles and an alert sent to the phones by an app that they are about to step into traffic.

“Increasing number of smombie accidents have occurred in pedestrian crossings, so these zombie lights are essential to prevent these pedestrian accidents,” said KICT senior researcher Kim Jong-hoon.

The multi-dimensional warning system is operated by radar sensors and thermal cameras and comes with a price tag of 15 million won ($13,250) per crossing.

Drivers are alerted by the flashing lights, which have shown to be effective 83.4 percent of the time in the institute’s tests involving about 1,000 vehicles.

In 2017, more than 1,600 pedestrians were killed in auto related accidents, which is about 40 percent of total traffic fatalities, according to data from the Traffic Accident Analysis System.

South Korea has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, according to Pew Research Center, with about 94 percent of adults owning the devices in 2017, compared with 77 percent in the United States and 59 percent in Japan.

Slideshow (2 Images)

For now, the smombie warning system is installed only in Ilsan, a suburban city about 30 km northwest of the capital, Seoul, but is expected to go nationwide, according to the institute.

Kim Dan-hee, a 23-year-old resident of Ilsan, welcomed the system, saying she was often too engrossed in her phone to remember to look at traffic.

“This flickering light makes me feel safe as it makes me look around again, and I hope that we can have more of these in town,” she said.

Reporting by Minwoo Park; Editing by Jack Kim, Robert Birsel

Source link

more recommended stories

  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffers capsule anomaly during Florida tests

    (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered.

  • China releases new rules on game approvals

    People play online games at an.

  • U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

    (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence has accused.

  • Foxconn recommits to Wisconsin plant, despite governor’s doubts

    President Donald Trump (left) and Rep..

  • Mir card payment system looks beyond Russia

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – After Western sanctions.

  • Qualcomm’s joint venture with Chinese province to shut down: The Information

    FILE PHOTO: A Qualcomm sign is.

  • Pinterest, Zoom shares surge in market debut after IPOs

    (Reuters) – Shares of Pinterest Inc.

  • China’s Guangdong gives Tencent approval to distribute Nintendo’s Switch console

    FILE PHOTO: A Tencent sign is.

  • Pinterest raises $1.4 billion in IPO in sign of sustained demand after Lyft struggles

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pinterest Inc.

  • Digital banking startup Aspiration seeks new funding round

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Aspiration, a.

  • Foxconn’s Gou says will follow order of sea goddess to run for Taiwan presidency

    Terry Gou, founder and chairman of.

  • Apple likens Qualcomm chips to fried chicken as trial begins

    FILE PHOTO: A surveillance camera is.

  • Foxconn’s Gou says may run for Taiwan president, step back from daily business

    TAIPEI (Reuters) – Foxconn’s Chairman Terry.

  • Hulu buys back AT&T’s stake in $1.43 billion deal

    FILE PHOTO: The AT&T logo is.

  • Electronics For Imaging to sell itself to Siris Capital unit

    (Reuters) – Digital printing company Electronics.

  • Asia’s tech champions zero in on main street banking

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asia’s internet.

  • Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp hit by outages – downdetector

    FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users.

  • World’s largest plane makes first flight over California

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The world’s.

  • U.S. senators introduce social media bill to ban ‘dark patterns’ tricks

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators.

  • China’s JD.com boss criticizes ‘slackers’ as company makes cuts

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Richard Liu, the.

  • Facebook more than doubles Zuckerberg compensation to $22.6 million

    FILE PHOTO: Facebook’s founder and CEO.

  • Dutch PM Rutte: no decisions yet on Chinese role in 5G roll out

    FILE PHOTO: Dutch Prime Minister Mark.

  • Uber unveils IPO with warning it may never make a profit

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Uber Technologies.

  • Disney CEO Iger takes a dig at social media, says Hitler would have loved it: Variety

    FILE PHOTO: Disney’s Chief Executive Officer.

  • Lyft’s stock slide casts long shadow on Uber’s IPO

    (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc may.

  • Lyft shares hit new low as Uber IPO chatter revs up

    FILE PHOTO: Lyft supporters gather for.

  • First Cobalt targets Canada plant restart within two years: CEO

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – First Cobalt Corp.

  • Exclusive: Uber plans to sell around $10 billion worth of stock in IPO – sources

    (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc has.

  • U.S. senators’ new bill would ban online ‘dark patterns’ that trick consumers

    FILE PHOTO – Sen. Mark Warner.

  • China says it wants to eliminate bitcoin mining

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s state planner.

  • Exclusive: Loeb’s Third Point building stake to pressure Sony – sources

    (Reuters) – Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund.

  • Facebook says has made headway against abuses ahead of India election

    MENLO PARK, California (Reuters) – Facebook.