The Next Steps

Fellow Drivers,

Thank you for all the support you’ve shown Braking Bar these past few weeks. It’s thrilling to see how people are responding to the idea of convenient, affordable safety.

This project started with a simple idea: you shouldn’t have to buy a new car to have a safe car.

While the Kickstarter campaign did not reach its goal, there has certainly been enough interest that we’re going to keep moving forward! We’re still figuring out the details, but if you want to join us on this journey, please sign up for our mailing list at brakingbar.com, Like us on Facebook, or reach out at contact@brakingbar.com. We’d love your feedback and to hear how we can make the product/campaign even better.

From “Startup Standout” on BusinessWire, to a “Project We Love” on Geektime, it’s been an exciting ride on Kickstarter. We can’t wait for what’s next.

Sincerely,
The Braking Bar Team

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The Next Steps

Distracted Driving No Match For Braking Bar

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As April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, countless ad campaigns and police departments are striving to inform the public of this epidemic. Yet, while their goal is to keep you safe, they only aim to do so by incentivizing the drivers around you to put their phones down. A new technology focuses on a different solution: making other drivers pay attention when they still don’t put down their phones.

That technology is Braking Bar, a product of FrontLane LLC and Stanford graduate Roland Hence.

Braking Bar is an Adaptive Brake Light, a recent innovation in brake lighting that gets distracted drivers’ attentions faster under urgent braking—when it matters most. Normally when you brake, your brake lights illuminate normally, but in cases where you brake forcefully, Braking Bar adapts by either illuminating very brightly or flashing. Extensive studies show that this technology causes following vehicles to stop up to 19 ft shorter, and thus reduces collision-speeds by up to 22 mph.

While Adaptive Brake Lights are standard in many new cars, aftermarket installations are invasive and cost upwards of $500. By utilizing a built-in accelerometer, an adhesive, and a battery pack, Braking Bar has no wires and can be installed by any driver in minutes.

“What’s particularly unique about this technology is its approach to safety.” Roland goes on, “Very often, as seen with government programs, police-issued citations, and nearly every new crash-avoidance feature, our strategies to keep us safe are centered around keeping us focused. Yet, to have a truly holistic approach to safety, we must also seek solutions that keep us safe when we are not the ones who got distracted.”

Braking Bar is an attention-getting, practical upgrade to nearly any vehicle and thus has the potential to benefit millions of drivers and families.

Distracted Driving No Match For Braking Bar

Executive Summary

Introduction


    Each year, there are over 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the United States.[i] Given this extreme frequency, and the body’s particular vulnerability to whiplash which starts at only 5 mph,[ii] it’s no wonder rear-end collisions account for 30% of all injuries and property damage[iii] in vehicle collisions. Since comprehensive damages for all car accidents total $871 billion annually in the United States,[iv] rear-end collisions have a substantial impact on the economy.

    Such a high incidence of property damage, injury, and death have led auto manufacturers to actively pursue solutions to this grave and persistent threat. Studies revealed that most rear-end collisions are caused by distracted drivers,[v] and Daimler-Benz found that 90% of rear-end collisions would be avoided if the following driver had one extra second to react.[vi] As a result, manufacturers focused on making cars more attention-getting to compete with the many distractions on the road, thereby giving drivers more time to react.

    Such a solution would have to be so consistently effective it would make drivers immediately pay attention. So it was based on survival instinct; when the brain senses danger, it immediately pays attention.

    The result was the Adaptive Brake Light. It works as follows: when you brake urgently, Adaptive Brake Lights either get very bright or flash. The eye senses the change in brightness as a movement and thus as a danger, making drivers pay attention urgently.[vii] Since reaction time is most critical during urgent braking, Adaptive Brake Lights are extremely effective at reducing reaction time when it matters most.

    Extensive studies have demonstrated this technology to be highly effective at stopping rear-end collisions. According to Mercedes, drivers stop up to 19 feet shorter as a result of a 200 ms faster reaction time.[viii] According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “current rear lighting is much less effective.”[ix] They went on to state that Adaptive Brake Lights can reduce total harm of rear-end collisions by up to 10.1%,[x] thereby saving billions annually in the United States, alone. Thus, several major manufacturers have made Adaptive Brake Lights standard, including Volvo,[xi] BMW,[xii] Mercedes,[xiii] and Cadillac,[xiv] and Formula One[xv] has made flashing tail lights mandatory for all its race cars.

    Adaptive Brake Lights are a powerful solution to a devastating problem. However, they have only recently become standard and only in some vehicles. As a result, most do not have them, and aftermarket upgrades are impractical due to their high cost and their invasive, hard-wired installation. Thus, there has been no practical way to upgrade a car with this technology, until now.

Braking Bar


    Braking Bar is a completely wireless Adaptive Brake Light that any driver can install to nearly any vehicle in minutes. The sleek product weighs only 84 grams and attaches to the rear window, leaving your view unobstructed as it faces following drivers. It checks for forceful braking more than 160 times per second, and when forceful braking is detected, it responds by illuminating powerful LEDs in the most visible location on your car. These LEDs illuminate far faster than traditional bulbs and urgently get the attention of following drivers at the most critical times.

    Installation is made easy by a strong, non-damaging adhesive, a self-calibration function, and a built-in accelerometer. Maintenance is truly minimal, as the batteries last for years, and robust construction handles even extreme conditions with ease. Additionally, Braking Bar is affordably priced at $179, costing less than many regular maintenances and routine car-related expenses.

    Finally, Braking Bar is legal in all known jurisdictions internationally. The device exclusively uses the attention-getting patterns that car manufacturers and government organizations have found to be the most effective. Since Braking Bar has these modes built in, and can be adjusted at the flip of a switch, Braking Bar is both legal and effective on any road, anywhere.

    People have much at stake when it comes to their vehicles—their money, their careers, their friends, their loved ones. Auto manufacturers constantly advertise the latest in safety technology, but such technology is often only available to a few vehicles. Braking Bar changes that, enabling families, individuals, and professionals to easily outfit their cars with cutting-edge technology.

For more information and complete details, please see the Research & Technical Document.

Overview
Estimated Price: $179
Battery Life: 2.5 years for average driver
Dimensions
With Mounts: 10.125 inches (25.718 cm)
Body Only: 8.625 inches (21.908 cm)
Weight (including batteries): 0.185 lbs (84 grams)
Operating Temperature: -40°F to 185°F (-40°C to 85°C)
Response Time: 20 ms
Illumination: 8 super-bright LEDs
Luminous Intensity: 270 cd
Intelligent Features: power-save, accurate brake detection, leveling function, self- Calibration

Endnotes


[i] National Transportation Safety Board. “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes. NTSB, 19 May 2015. http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Pages/SIR1501.aspx

[ii] Bierma, Paige. “Whiplash.” HealthDay, 11 March 2015. http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/back-care-6/backache-news-53/whiplash-645903.html

[iii] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Driver Attributes and Rear-End Crash Involvement Propensity.” Department of Transportation, March 2003. http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809-540.PDF

[iv] Blincoe, Lawrence, Ted R. Miller Ph.D., Eduard Zaloshnja Ph.D., Bruce A. Lawrence Ph.D. “The Economic and Societal Impact Of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, May 2014, p1. http://wwwnrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/812013.pdf

[v] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Assessing the Attention-Gettingness of Brake Signals: Evaluation of Optimized Candidate Enhanced Braking Signals.” United States Department of Transportation, May 2009. http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NVS/Human%20Factors/Visibility%20and%20Lighting/TSF811129.pdf

[vi] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Board Meeting: Rear-End Collision Prevention Technologies.”

United States Department of Transportation, 1 May 2001. http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Pages/Rear-End_Collision_Prevention_Technologies.aspx

[vii] Encyclopedia Britannica. “Movement Perception”. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 13 May 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/395223/movement-perception

[viii] Jones, Roland. “Will Flashier Brake Lights Reduce Accidents.” NBC News, 17 Feb 2006. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/11351634/ns/business-the_driver_seat/t/will-flashier-brake-lights-reduceaccidents/#.VVEYu9pVhHw

[ix] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Assessing the Attention-Gettingness of Brake Signals: Evaluation of Optimized Candidate Enhanced Braking Signals.” United States Department of Transportation, May 2009. http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NVS/Human%20Factors/Visibility%20and%20Lighting/TSF811129.pdf

[x] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts: Development of a Simulation Model to Assess Effectiveness and Safety Benefits of Enhanced Rear Brake Light Countermeasures,” United States Department of Transportation, June 2010.

[xi] Volvo. “Owner’s Manual.” pp142-143. Volvo, 2015. http://esd.volvocars.com/local/us/2015-Volvo-XC60-Owners-Manual-v1.pdf

[xii] BMW. “Adaptive Brake Lights.” BMW. http://www.bmw.com/com/en/newvehicles/x/x6/2012/showroom/safety_comfort/adaptive_brake_lights.html

[xiii] Mercedes-Benz. “Adaptive Brake Lights” Tech Center. http://techcenter.mercedes-benz.com/en/adaptive_brakelight/detail.html

[xiv] Cadillac. “Cadillac ATS Safety is Rooted in Avoidance.” General Motors. 22 June 2012. http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/cadillac/vehicles/ats/2013.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Jun/0622_ats.html

[xv] Formula One World Championship. “Safety Equipment.” F1 2016. http://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/championship/inside-f1/rules-regs/Safety_equipment.html

Executive Summary

About the Inventor

RolandMy name is Roland, and I’m an engineer with a passion for driving.

I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and studied at the local schools, always looking to build something new. Whether it was a ping pong machine, arcade game, or some contraption for a robotics competition, I loved holding in my hands something that was once only an idea.

As I grew older, my passions developed. From LEGOs to Arduino to 3D printing and custom PCBs, the mediums I used have changed, but my desire to create always remained unwavering.

Yet, there is a key difference in that desire: I used to build everything for me, making only what I wanted as my creations only affected me. Now, I know the great impact even one person’s work can have in society.

While at Stanford, I strived to immerse myself in an environment of creativity and diversity. I have many interests outside of my work, such as photography, tennis, and dance, and I wanted to ensure my education was as well-rounded and as open-minded as possible.

Even so, whenever there was time, I would drive off campus to find a new corner of California I had never heard of before. Many of my favorite places I found without a map, only by venturing down an inviting road.

I was always looking for problems to solve, things to improve. When I saw how ineffective our current brake lights were and that there was a tremendous opportunity to change that, I found a project I was truly passionate about. Not only could I build a mechatronic product that I, myself, could benefit from on the road, but I could help enable others to have a safety that they would not otherwise have.

My dream is to continue this type of work—to identify life-changing problems and help create life-changing solutions.

About the Inventor

Welcome

      We’re a group of drivers and engineers that loves what technology can do for people. From autonomous vehicles to making important safety accessible, we’re constantly working on exciting projects.

      Braking Bar is our first product and will debut on Kickstarter in the coming weeks. Now we’re reaching out to drivers interested in the idea of making essential safety easily installable. If that’s you, or someone you might know, then please join our community and share this project so that, together, we can make the roads a better place for everyone. Your support makes all the difference.

Thank you.

Welcome