Unexpected Surprise

I was driving home this evening and had an unexpected technological surprise – the anti-lock braking system (ABS).  Not that I didn’t know I had it in my vehicle, but in the three years I’ve owned my Nissan X-Trail, I’ve never see it in action, until today!

Many years ago when I first got my licence, my parents insisted I complete a defensive driving course.  During that we learnt how to stop in the wet and the method for that was to pump the brakes.  ABS was only becoming standard on new cars some 11 years ago when I did that course.  Although the exercise of stopping in the wet was only about 30 minutes of the day, its something that I instincly remember how to do.

On a few occasions in some older model cars, that stopping technique has saved me.

Today when I had the person in front of me decide to stop in the middle of the road during peak hour and in drizzling rain, I instinctively pumped away – and that is when the ABS kicked in!

Thinking about it, I marvelled at a technology we pretty much take for granted.  I wondered how many other people would have known how to react in a similar situation without what is nowdays such a standard feature of most modern cars.

Improving the lift interface

As usual, I arrived at the lift well for the building I work in, and was one of the last people to get in.  As I dart in, I quickly scanned the lift buttons – not going to my floor.  Can I get to the lift buttons?  Yes, but I can’t get to swipe my security pass – someone is in the way.  From there it gets a bit awkward.  Try and get around someone, say ‘excuse me’ and hurriedly swipe and push the button?  Or perhaps wait until that person moves out of the elevator and hope that they get off before you pass your floor.

Perhaps its time to revisit the lift interface, and look for some innovation.  I’ve already got two ideas, without adding too much cost, and more convenience for the lift travelers.  In these instances, I’ve got in mind hi-rise levels with part-express elevators

1.  Scan on lift entry

I could almost guarantee that everyone in the building carries proximity cards with them.  As you walk into the list, scanners could detect your card.  The lift would immediately know who you are, and what your default floor would be.  Upon entry, the lift then knows who is going to which floors.

Of course you would still have some manual override option available for visitors or traveling to other floors.

2. Scan before you start

Can we optimise the process even further?  As everyone pools in the foyer, the scanners at the building entrance doors know how many people will want to be going to which floors.  There could be efficiencies in having people destined for the same floor together in the one lift and go direct, rather than have multiple lifts stop at all floors.

Sure, there would be possible problems with contention and weighting needed for the people in the foyer, as well as for everyone else traveling around between floors or coming down to ground level.

I’m sure there are people out there who have put much more thought into this, but still I think its something that designers of these systems should perhaps consider.