Researchers at Virginia Tech's Bradley School of Electrical and Computer Engineering have created prototypes of construction safety vests incorporating radio sensors that could alert workers of potential hazards and prevent potentially fatal roadside accidents. Head of research Tom Martin and Ph.D. student Kristen Hines are working to use short-range communication to provide construction workers with collision avoidance, which could provide workers with a few extra seconds to get out of the way of a possible collision.
The InZoneAlert vest uses GPS tracking and short-range communication — something that many cars will have in the future. It sends an alert to the worker and driver the moment danger is detected. The vest currently also features LED lights, speakers and vibrations to determine which mode of communication is most effective.
Early tests of the technology anticipate a 90% success rate for future incidents. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is planning real-world trials of the vests in actual highway traffic environments.