(Dramatic music) Alarming Development. (SOUND EFFECT: car remote chirp)
I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files -- new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.
(SOUND EFFECT: obnoxious car alarm) (SOUND EFFECT: slightly shouting) I've heard these things go off so much, it almost doesn't -- can you kill the alarm? -- (SOUND EFFECT: cuts) mean anything anymore. While we're being treated to this high-decibel 'deterrent,' the owner is inside having a half-caf double latte, totally clueless.
Penn state researchers believe there's a better, totally silent way to keep somebody from hoisting their hybrid:
Have the cars watch each other (SOUND EFFECT: cartoon car horn)
The computer-based system they've developed would rely on sensors -- both in the vehicles, and at the lot. When your car first pulls in, it sends out a 'hello' signal to the rest of the cars. (SOUND EFFECT: friendly bleep)
Now part of the networking at the lot, (SOUND EFFECT: slow monitor bleeps) the cars monitor each other -- continually scanning for each others signal. If your car leaves without sending out the 'goodbye' signal (generated when you unlock the door) (SOUND EFFECT: urgent bleeps) the other cars report you missing to the main sensor. The system automatically calls you and says, (SOUND EFFECT: synthesized voice) "dude your car is not here." Ok, not in those exact words, but it lets you know.
Should the thief get out of the lot, the system could continue to monitor your car's whereabouts through an existing system of sensors at intersections or along the road. In early tests, the 'owner' was alerted by phone within four to nine seconds.
I like this. Aware -- without the (SOUND EFFECT: car alarm short burst) blare.
"The Discovery Files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.