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Death by road traffic accident

The Scenario

Road accidents cause many deaths throughout the world. There are many reasons for this. The most important reason is probably the drivers’ inattentiveness when they are driving, especially in the late hours. Some drivers do not follow the traffic signs and regulations related to speed With an ever increasing amount of cars on the roads, many more traffic accidents are occurring.

  • What does the situation look like in your country? Are deaths by road accident rising or falling.
  • Are you happy with these results?
  • Would you be interested in exploring ideas about ways traffic accidents can be reduced (and maybe eliminated)?

Let us build robot cars and explore how science and technology might be able to play a role using light sensors to save lives


Design Task

You task is to look at how cars can be made safer by constructing a robo-car, controlled by light sensors. The robocar will decrease or increase in speed depending upon which different- coloured roads it drives on

  • You will  present the results in a tabular form/ diagram
  • Write suitable computer programs using NXT 2.1 programming to control the speed of the car.
  • Collaborate as member of a group in designing and carrying out appropriate activities from writing the computer program to solving problems associated with the use of the robot.
  • Explain transmitted, absorbed and reflected light, for both white and coloured light and the purity of reflection from different coloured roads.
  • Explain wavelength of light in the context of the electromagnetic spectrum and the manner in which light sensors function.
  • Decide with justification, whether robots can be viably used to reduce the number of road accidents.


Design Process

Introduction tasks

Firstly look at the Youtube video about Google self driving cars

1. Make a list of the recognition technology named in the video. What images does it recognise?

2. How many accidents had the Google car been invloved in?

Now visit the two resouce pages listing the World Health Organisations list of the amount of road accidents per country.

1. Which country is the safest place to drive a car? Which country is the most dangerous? Where does your country stand in comparison?

Process Step 1.

Within the whole class:

1. Discuss the meaning of a light sensor and brainstorm ways a light sensor can decrease the number of traffic accidents.

2. Present information considered relevant from student group searches on the internet about the properties of light.

In groups:

1. Search the internet for information on the property of light, both white light and coloured light.

2. Construct a robo-car using lego mindstorms NXT 2.0 (follow the you tube video if you need to)

3. Integrate a light sensor to the robo-car (follow instructions) Need to upload these to the documents list !

4. Use different coloured paperboard to make a road for testing the speed of the robo-car

5. Write a computer program following a worksheet giving instructions for the light sensor using NXT 2.1 programming and upload it to the robo-car.

6. Measure your cars’ speed  when it passes along different colored roads.

7. Discuss and test other factors that could influence the reliability of the light sensor to work. 

As a class:

1. Make a film of each group’s outcomes

2. Reach final conclusion on: How it might be possible to decrease/increase the speed of cars?

3. Discuss the feasibility of integrating the light sensors to all of the cars? Economically? Reliability in all conditions?

4. Discuss the feasibility of colouring the traffic roads to limit the speed of the cars? 

Process Step 2.

The following steps/ questions are to help you to complete your project successfully:

1. What is light?

2. How is light reflected?

3. What is a light sensor?

4. How does a light sensor work?

5. How does a light sensor detects objects of different colours?

6. How does a light sensor send detected data from different coloured objects?

7. Which coloured objects absorb the light best?

Process Step 3-4. Open the document Student handout 1 - 5

In combination with the lessons your teachers will go thorugh on light relflection, work through the tasks on the handout 3 - 5.

1. try to understand how light sensors work

2. fill in the table on ligh reflected per colour

3. Attach the light sensor to the robocar

4. Complte your NXT program and upload to the robocar

5. Test nd adjust the program using different coloured roads

Process Step 5.

1. Discuss the feasability of colouring roads

2. Could ligh sensors be added to all cars? What would it cost?

3. How does the reverse camera work on modern cars?








TESTING Conclusion text

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Be familiar with NXT 2.0 programme
  • Construct the robot kits for robo-car
  • Understand the working principles of light sensor
  • Integrate the light sensor to the robo-car
  • Prepare different coloured paperboard to make a road for testing the robo-car
  • Notice that light is absorbed by the object at the end of the interaction between object and light
  • Know that why different coloured paperboards are used for testing the speed of robo-car
  • Explore the light is absorbed more with dark colour
  • Understand the reflection of light
  • Understand the absorption of light
  • Determine the colours which absorbed much light
  • Understand how robotics can help in society



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