HPT

 

10.0 Safety of Life:

10.1Highway Deaths and Injuries:

During 2009, approximately thirty-thousand (30,000) people were killed in the United States in traffic related accidents. Thousands more were critically, and permanently, injured. Vehicle design, roadways and driver impairment are causal factors. Highway deaths have routinely average around forty thousand (40,000) per year during the past decade, even though a multitude of Anew@ safety features have been touted by the automobile manufacturers. Developed countries have come to accept such fatalities and injuries as "normal and acceptable". Most drivers generally believe that traffic deaths and serious injuries just Awon=t happen@ to their friends, children and other family members. Well over ninety- nine percent (99%) of all public highway funds are spent on more and wider roadways with less than 1% going to install physical safety barriers (such as guardrails) and other safety features on existing roadways.

10.2Opportunity to Re-evaluate Safety:

Development of the HPR System provides a milestone opportunity to revisit the core nature of surface vehicle design with an eye towards saving thousands of families from the grief of losing their loved ones or living with critical physical and emotional impairments. Other, less important, but significant effects of vehicle accidents are the burdens imposed on our medical personnel and resources, property damage and lost time.

10.3Accident Avoidance:

The best way to avoid death and injury during automobile accidents is to avoid the accident, altogether. Working with the major automobile manufacturers, a HPR compliant vehicle, both on and off the Grid System, can be made exceptionally safe by mitigating or eliminating the collision force that leads to death or serious injury.

10.4Differential Speed:

Differential speed is the principal value in predicting automobile and human carnage during traffic accidents. It is the velocity difference between two moving objects or one fixed and one moving object. On a typical roadway, two cars traveling in opposite directions at 55 mph would have a differential speed of one-hundred and ten (110) mph. A car traveling at fifty-five (55) mph which runs into a bridge abutment or tree collides with a differential speed of fifty-five (55) mph. Accident damage, and to some extent, death and injury, can be reasonably predicted based on the mass of the objects closing at various differential speeds and the amount of energy absorbing structure incorporated within a vehicle. Many high speed racing tracks have flexible safety walls (known as Safer Barriers) or a series of tires tied together that absorb the impact of an errant car. On roadways, guard rails absorb some differential speed during impact, however, are placed primarily to guide vehicles back into the flow of traffic and avoid contact with off-road objects.

10.5Effects of Minimal Speed Collisions:

Differential speeds of as little as one (1) mph have been known to cause death in vehicle accidents. Several automobile manufactures have started equipping their vehicles with automatic braking systems which will apply brakes when the System determines that differential speed is dangerous given the proximity of one vehicle to another or roadside obstructions.

10.6Common Accidents:

According to recent accident statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the most common highway accident occurs when a typical vehicle operator collides with a vehicle stopped, slowed or decelerating abruptly in front of it. As a result of competition, vehicle manufacturers have necessarily been more focused on production costs, fuel mileage and vehicle weight than vehicle safety structures (such as "deformable structures@ found in race cars). The result is often catastrophic deformity of vehicle passenger compartments, particularly in upper rear or upper side impact involving sub-compact vehicles. Mass becomes a more deadly factor when a typical personal car is struck by a large truck or bus at a high differential speed.

10.7Differential Speed of Grid Vehicles:

Vehicles using HPR will travel at Zero (- 0 -) differential speed once coupled in train formation. The computerized system controlling Grid activity, will recognize high closing rates among Grid vehicles and automatically reduce (or accelerate) the speeds of closing vehicles to correct consequential differential speeds. Each HPR vehicle will have its own secondary braking system using infrared technologies to detect and avoid dangerous differential closure.

10.8Debris Field:

A (relevant) debris field pertaining to a surface vehicle is an area in which matter may be located such as fixed solid objects, blowing or floating objects, dust, pedestrians, standing water, birds, animals, detached vehicle parts and other vehicles moving at slower speeds, within the plane of travel (ADebris Field@). The Intelligent Highway System, for example, could not overcome the problems associated with operation in the typical Debris Field found at surface level along roadways and highways as one vehicle=s collision with debris might result in a domino effect or more significant collision between the first car and any number of vehicles following in close proximity or driving in the opposite direction. In order to avoid the effects of a typical surface Debris Field, the HPR System will be built on a series of structures well above a typical roadway surface and out of the Debris Field. Hydroplaning, a potentially deadly hazard on roadways is fully eliminated as a Grid System hazard since an HPR compliant vehicle operating on the Grid cannot move laterally away from the intended path of motion.

10.9Passenger Compartment Structure and Protection:

Major motor sport racing sanctioning bodies such as NASCAR© and INDY CAR© are focused very clearly on safety. The fact that racing drivers routinely survive 200 plus mph crashes and walk away unharmed tends to indicate that safety and speed may coexist in proper forms. Racing vehicles and racing safety features are, however, greatly different than any street vehicle built today.

10.10Lessons From Race Car Technology and Safety:

A typical INDY CAR is made with a Carbon Fiber chassis or driver capsule. The material, although expensive, is light weight and the resulting chassis is almost impossible to crush during impact at racing speeds. Large structures capable of damaging other cars, and which could separate from a car during an accident are tied to the chassis with supplemental straps or wires. Deformable structures, which absorb energy during impact, as much as sixteen (16) inches thick, protect the driver on each side of the vehicle. Typical street vehicle structures are mostly pressed, thin metal with occasional metal support beams for internal strength. NASCAR requires the use of Acages@ or Aroll cages@ which are large metal tube structures welded and cross braced internally to protect the driver from one hundred-ninety (190) mph impact from any direction. Special fuel system features include automatic closure of fuel tank openings in the event of a roll-over. Halon (an extinguishing chemical), is automatically released to protect from any fire that may erupt.

10.11Head and Neck Restraints, Air Supply:

Although most drivers would not opt to use them in their personal vehicles, helmets, flame retardant driver suits and head and neck support devices (also known and trademarked as AHANS Devices©@) keep drivers alive in extreme high speed impact collisions when similar crashes in today=s typical street vehicles almost always result in death or severe injury to the occupants. Something as simple as a supply of compressed emergency air has saved the lives of many racing drivers caught in a smoke filled car, while waiting for emergency help to extinguish a fire or extract them.

10.12Current Direction of Automakers:

For the most part, our current street vehicles incorporate none of these lifesaving features while continuing, however, to improve speed, acceleration, entertainment systems, style and power options. There is no substantial protection at head level in any car except for that afforded by marginal door/windshield frames and airbags. A driver who runs, head-on, into an object three to four (3 to 4) feet off the ground at ten (10) mph, such as the rear edge of a flat-bed truck, has little chance of surviving as the object easily pushes through the minimal windshield supports and into the passenger compartment at head level. Most cars will not sustain a fifty-five (55) mph roll-over without substantial passenger compartment deformation. While Formula One race cars have developed the capability of reaching 4 g braking deceleration through the use of down force generators (wings and aerodynamic ground effects devices) today=s typical street vehicle reaches just over 1 g during panic braking as the manufacturers have found it too expensive to incorporate meaningful aerodynamic braking devices into their vehicles. Furthermore, most street tires are formulated first; to achieve mileage warranties and second; for traction and control (although todays tires are improving dramatically in both categories).

10.13Hybrid PT Standards of Safety:

An HPR compliant vehicle will be required to meet standards of protection that are more equivalent to those required of racing vehicles including a carbon fiber passenger compartment with direct cross bracing. More substantial windshields will be installed with fasteners rather than sealer and rubber gaskets. A solid roll structure using a NASCAR COT (Car of Tomorrow©) style frame will insure that head areas are protected from upper car impact. Doors will be secured using aircraft-type securing mechanisms and an emergency evacuation mechanism will be installed. Instead of today=s typical air bags, a complete internal air bag and restraint system will gently deploy around all passengers in the event an HPR vehicles computer recognizes an impending collision. As a vehicle operating on the Grid will sense a collision several seconds ahead of the event, the danger of high explosive air bag deployment is eliminated during Grid transit in favor of a slower delivery of inflation pressure. An on-board automatic fire extinguishing system will be mandatory. Luxury interiors will still provide comfort and style although modified for the additional vehicle strengthening.

10.14Advanced Safety Options:

Various safety options might include an automatic head and neck support system which would mechanically deploy around driver=s and passengers heads and necks just prior to an impending accident or a wrist ban sensing vital signs with the ability to report serious conditions to the Grid operations center and cause a vehicle to automatically divert off the Main Grid Rail at the next available exit.

10.15Clean Sheet Safety Options:

Development of a Aclean sheet@ vehicle design provides the opportunity to incorporate contact avoidance alarms (blind spot alarms) full view rear vision using micro-camera technologies and Aheads-up@ visual displays on windshields indicating speed, direction of travel and 360 degree dangers. Voice annunciators will report any vehicle condition that warrants further investigation or inspection and voice separation with other cars when turn signals are activated. A method of sending an alarm or voice stream from one car to another indicating that a car is following too closely, or that a dangerous condition exists just ahead, are ideas that could save lives off the Grid as well.

10.16Improved Street Safety:

While those traveling on the Grid System will, for the most part, not be exposed to high differential speeds and will rarely have a need for these extreme safety innovations, standard street safety will be greatly improved. Thousands of lives can be saved.