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Anti-SUV Periscope

Lets you see traffic in front of an SUV
  (+22, -3)(+22, -3)
(+22, -3)
  [vote for,

If you drive a normal car, you will notice that an SUV blocks a huge swath of your vision. Stuck behind one on the freeway, it's impossible to anticipate slowdowns or problems ahead because the SUV is blocking your view. The Anti-SUV Periscope is a video camera mounted on an extensible boom that rises up from your car like a periscope. The boom is taller than your average SUV, allowing you to see over them. A display on the dashboard shows you the camera view. The boom can be turned to the left and right, which is useful for seeing past parked SUVs, for example, when entering a road from a driveway. An additional feature would allow you to tilt the camera down, so you can see how much room you have in tight parking spaces.

Please no suggestions about torpedos, which would be fun (and perhaps justified) but impractical.

rmutt, Oct 26 2001

Car Periscope http://www.halfbake...dea/Car_20periscope
Half-baked already [stupop, Oct 26 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Camera Obscura http://www.thisislo...in_review_id=220953
not a very good link [stupop, Oct 26 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Get rid of SUVs http://www.washingt.../0212.mencimer.html
[mrthingy, Oct 04 2004]

Traffic Wave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_wave
Traffic wave page on Wikipedia [joee, Sep 25 2009]


       Not a bad idea, but I'm not quite sure where the "anti-" part comes in. Of course, SUVs aren't the only vision-blockers on the road. RVs, school busses, big rigs, and even vans prevent you from seeing possible emergency braking situations ahead.   

       The best way to deal with this situation is still adherence to the "Two Second Rule."
Guncrazy, Oct 26 2001

       I was never much good at trigonometry, but it seems to me that the periscope would have to be really impractically high to do any good. Depending on how far behind the S.U.V. you are, I guess. I imagine remote control devices warning the periscope of impending overpasses will now be appended. This seems kinda familiar somehow...
snarfyguy, Oct 26 2001

       Well I'm with rmutt on the anti-SUV bit.
sdm, Oct 26 2001

       Obviously, you should keep a safe distance while driving, but this would still have practical uses.   

       If British/drive on the left, read: It's incredibly annoying when you're at a junction trying to turn left into a main road, and a large 4x4/van/truck pulls up on your right, waiting to turn right. It blocks your view of oncoming traffic, so you can't tell if you can turn. But because it's waiting for both directions to be clear, and you're only waiting for one to be clear, your waiting until it can move off is a waste of time. And this can move into a dangerous game of you edge out; they edge out; you edge further...   

       If US/Canada/continental Europe, read: It's incredibly annoying when you're at a junction trying to turn right into a main road, and a large SUV/van/truck pulls up on your left, trying to turn left. It blocks your view of oncoming traffic, so you can't tell if you can turn. But because it's waiting for both directions to be clear, and you're only waiting for one to be clear, your waiting until it can move off is a waste of time. And this can move into a dangerous game of you edge out; they edge out; you edge further...   

       Everyone read: The Anti-SUV Periscope would solve your problem.
pottedstu, Oct 26 2001

       A 360-degree veiw is great but the moving image (especially a heads-up display) would take a lot of getting used to.
salmon, Oct 26 2001

       Nice idea, rmutt. I'd likely vote for anything in the anti-SUV category, on principle ... but your idea has charm. A periscope! Cute!   

       Personally, I still favor some kind of horn audio attachment that can be flipped on when an SUV is blocking your view: "FAT ASS ... FAT ASS ... MOVE ...", or a similarly worded message. But I haven't posted this idea yet, have I?
1percent, Oct 26 2001

       [Steve DeGroof] What you are describing sounds very like a camera obscura (link).
stupop, Oct 29 2001

       C'mon folks, haven't you learned the shadow trick... just use that. If you have really good vision, you can even look at the reflective chrome on cars in adjacent lanes to see what might be in front of that SUV. Ok, ok, ok, here's a plan B, ride in a vehicle larger than the SUV just to teach them a lesson. The new, improved vehicle is called the Best Urban Semi-transport, otherwise known as B.U.S. The vehicle would have some kind of an autonomous guidance mechanism called the Manequin-like Ambulatory Navigator, otherwise known as the M.A.N. Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy, like some kind of transport out of Star Trek... but I believe that someday you could see dozens of these B.U.S.es plying the highways and byways of America. Does anyone know how to apply for a grant from the Department of Transportation?   

       Of course, this could lead to an ever-escalating arms race... next thing you know, the Mammoth Excursionary and Gargantuous Amphibian Best Urban Semi-transport would be deployed and spoil it for all of us.
pathetic, Oct 31 2001

       brackforn: You use a fibre-optic connection to keep the mass down, and mount the actual camera in the body of the vehicle; so far easy enough. But daylight-visible head-up displays are big, power hungry, and syupidly expensive. A small flat-panel LCD built into the sunvisor could do the same job. The whole lot could be put together for about US$ 250, a little more if you wanted a hi-res camera that could see into the near-infrared. NB: you want to build peak-white-inversion into the circuitry to kill the dazzle from oncoming headlights.
8th of 7, Jul 11 2002

       I'm for it because then maybe I would be able to see the periscope of those tiny little cars most of you all drive and not run over you when I change lanes in my SUV.
hexadecimal, Jul 11 2002

       I would like to follow up the idea of the anti-SUV periscope by adding a targeting system, and create the anti-SUV tactical missile. Solve the problem once and for all
TBK, Dec 05 2002

       The B.U.S. kinda sucks, crammed in a stinky people-tube with a M.A.N. who seems to have never really learned to drive. I'll take the safe following distance side. I drove 18-wheelers for 13 years and it took some time to get used to my (now) lower point of view, but I somehow managed, even with all those 'evil' SUVs driving around. Guess it just took a little practice. Peace out, and "HANG UP AND DRIVE!!!"
spacer, Feb 18 2005

       These periscopes would need to retract and re-extend at every overhead bridge.   

       "Damn, that's gonna be expensive !"
normzone, Feb 18 2005

       Yeah, so then they'd bring out SUVs with their own periscopes, which would be 6ft wide and taller than yours and have bull-bars around them. So then you'd have to buy an even bigger.....   

       Hey, how about an underscope that peeked beneath the SUV in front?
Basepair, Feb 19 2005

       With sensing technology that [retract and re-extend [ed] at every] bump in the road.   

       And zoom lenses.
normzone, Feb 19 2005

       Retraction not necessary - even something at number-plate level would peek beneath the 12ft ground- clearance of an SUV. 'course, you'd only see the tires of vehicles in front of the SUV, but these are a pretty reliable indicator of the location of the vehicles themselves.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005

       I really wonder why kits like this aren't widely available already, because it seems like it could be practical given the proliferation of back-up cameras on newer vehicles.   

       If concern over enabling tailgating is too great, a height boost for just the rear-view would be great for avoiding having to back up blind in parking lots (now I just lean on my horn when my strategy of parking between two short vehicles fails).   

       Having a taller forward view would help some drivers move more efficiently in traffic jams. No matter how many car- lengths you put in front of yourself in a traffic jam, it can still be a mystery how far the tall vehicle in front of you plans on traveling when his brake light goes out. Sure, you can look at the shadows and reflections, spot the taillights, sharpen your psychic abilities, or listen for individual motors (good luck hearing the hum of a Prius hidden behind that bus). It would be a lot easier if I could just glance at a display and know whether to put my car in gear. The tall forward camera could even be turned off for safety when your vehicle is moving.   

       I am sure an interesting study could be done on the dissociative effects of driving a car based off of a disembodied perspective.
evildork, Jan 01 2008

       What if a camera was attached to a small remote-controlled helicopter tethered to the roof of your car.   

       Actually, this would probably wouldn't work at highway speeds, but it could be OK if you're parking or stuck in traffic.
Brett-Blob, Jan 03 2008

       I don't think the periscope needs to be any taller than the average SUV driver's eyes. I'm fine when following a car the same height as mine because I can see enough through the windshield. We could aim to get over the semis too, but the ROI is harder to achieve: Semi drivers tend to stay in the right lane and drive more sensibly than the rest of us anyway.   

       Another reason I like this idea is that I think it would help reduce traffic waves (see link). If you can see ahead a few cars, you can reduce your frequency of acceleration and do your part to avoid creating traffic waves and even to mitigate waves that already exist.
joee, Sep 25 2009

       What an absolute sexy beast of an idea! [+]
21 Quest, Nov 03 2022


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