New Device Could Detect Students Left on School Buses
published on January 12, 2018 by Sonia Mastros
It seems like a problem which should be preventable, yet it still happens with some regularity: children being forgotten and left behind on school buses. Proper school bus safety procedures mandate the driver always check for overlooked riders, but mistakes happen or perhaps the child hides in such a way he or she isn't easily seen, such as underneath a seat.
There aren't reliable statistics on how often this occurs, but such incidents make headlines several times a year. Ohio once saw two separate incidents within a week, and Ontario had a similar incident in November 2017.
However, that may soon change. A new technology has just been announced which could simply eliminate forgotten students: the Edge3 Ambient Sensing Node (ASN).
How Forgotten Children May Cease to Be a School Bus Safety Problem
What is the Ambient Sensing Node? It's a low-cost, low-power sensor array which is capable of detecting any movement onboard a powered-down vehicle – even breathing or heartbeats! It was designed specifically for the purpose of detecting people, children, or pets left in vehicles, but can also effectively serve as a burglar alarm.
The system works using a variety of sensors, as well as AI-based knowledge of the topography and layout of the vehicle. This allows it to detect any irregularities. Should anything trigger the ASN's alarm, it doesn't only make noise, it also alerts the vehicle's owner/operator via SMS or other electronic means.
According to Edge3, it is capable of distinguishing between humans and objects of similar size, like duffel bags. It can also distinguish movement even if the person is covered (under a blanket for example), or even in hard-to-reach areas like a car's trunk or other storage space.
Obviously, as a very new technology, there is always the chance that it won't quite live up to its claims when put into practical service, but these aren't entirely unfounded claims. The ASN has already received an Award For Innovation from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and multiple state governments are looking at investments into the technology.
Any school district concerned with improving school bus safety should probably be keeping an eye on this one. If it's as affordable and effective as the creators claim, the ASN would be easily justified as the latest high-tech addition to your bus fleet.
What do you think? Would your school district be interested in investing in these devices, if they lived up to the hype? Let's talk about it in the comments below!