Umbrellium in partnership with insurance company Direct Line developed what can only be described as a “Smart” crosswalk (known in the UK as a zebra crossing for its striped pattern). A prototype of the new crossing was demonstrated near Mitcham, South London, according to an article appearing in The Sun. The crosswalk apparently uses a matrix of square display modules embedded in the road that can be driven over.
The unique design uses LEDs that act as a low-resolution display in creating a striped pattern. The device uses cameras to detect pedestrians crossing the street. When more people are waiting to cross the street, the crosswalk pattern is made wider to accommodate them once Also, the display warns drivers of pedestrians that are crossing too soon or are not paying attention by showing the crosswalk pattern with red arrows pointing in the direction that the distracted pedestrian is going. Distracted pedestrians have become more prevalent worldwide as more people stare at their smartphones obliviously while crossing the street.
It is estimated that in London zebra crossings (as they are known), pedestrians suffer near misses from drivers about 20 times per day. This “smart” crosswalk was created to help reduce accidents between pedestrians crossing the street and drivers and also help avoid even the close calls where pedestrians are nearly hit.
While such crosswalks can’t prevent distracted and dangerous actions of pedestrians in crossing the street, they could help mitigate the risk of potential accidents. The company is trying out the new prototype in hopes of eventually implementing such crosswalks around the world.