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Caution, That Blip On The Screen Is A Taxi Slowing Down


Developments to Watch

CAUTION, THAT BLIP ON THE SCREEN IS A TAXI SLOWING DOWN

Some 20 Israeli police cars will soon be outfitted with a new laser-based radar system, called Controlaser, that should make driving safer. The system displays the distance to the vehicle in front, its speed, and the collision time in seconds if that vehicle is going slower or approaching.

If this sounds expensive, it isn't outrageously so. When Controlaser hits the consumer market next year, first in Germany, it will sell for about $600, including installation. "We've been able to drastically reduce the price of this technology," boasts Avner Shur, founder of Silicon Valley Ltd., a Haifa startup that has spent more than $1 million of government and private money on the system. A similar collision-warning system from San Diego's Vorad Safety Systems Inc. costs more than triple what the Israeli unit does. Israel's Ministry of Trade & Industry invested in the technology to help cut the country's high accident rate. Studies indicate that with an extra half-second of warning, drivers could avoid 60% of rear-end crashes and 30% of head-on collisions.EDITED BY OTIS PORT


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