Thursday, July 22, 2010

Students develop black box for bikes and cars

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Black boxes have been an integral part of aircraft for some time now. They are crucial to analysing the aircrafts performance during a particular flight and are critical to knowing what went wrong when a flight goes awry. What if there can be black boxes for your bikes and cars?

A group of final-year students of the Muslim Association College of Engineering, Venjarammoodu, have put together what they call a �Cruise Monitoring and Control System (CMCS) that helps regulate a vehicles speed, serve as a driver-alert device and one which records data, including speed and acceleration.

The CMCS consists of a monitoring system and a controlling system. The monitoring system has an LCD display, microcontroller, a storage device, a sensor unit and a buzzer. This unit records the speed of the vehicle for each rotation of the wheel and stores in a memory card; the kind used in digital cameras and mobile phones. The data remains saved even when the vehicle is switched off. By analysing this data, the driving habits of a person be analysed�are there bursts of acceleration, was the vehicle over speeding, were the brakes applied at a particular time etc.

The controlling system has an actuator, a wiper motor, relay circuits and limit switches. When the speed of a vehicle exceeds a pre-set limit, the microcontroller sends a signal to the actuator that regulates the speed of the vehicle. Through the actuator either the clutch or the accelerator can be controlled. The CMCS alerts a driver when he approaches the speed limit. This is to ensure that there is no sudden deceleration of a vehicle during crucial moments such as the time when it is overtaking another vehicle. However, the team is yet to find a way to make the CMCS itself crash-proof.

The device has been fitted on a bike and the team members say it can be modified for a car.

In the coming days, the team�consisting of B. Varun Chandran, R. Kannan Raj, M. Unnikrishnan, R. Vinaya Krishnan, V. Vipul and S. Jabir�plans to

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