Speed bumps can be hard on old cars (and on sleeping passengers). The bumps are especially popular in Mexico, where rampant police corruption means that many speeders get off scot-free. At the same time, speed bumps have the annoying habit of upping fuel consumption due to the rapid sequence of braking and acceleration—a big problem in a country where car ownership has doubled in the past decade. So it makes sense that a Mexican company has taken the initiative to invent a "smart" speed bump that lowers gas consumption and increases safety.
Decano Industries' smart speed bump is so intuitive, it's difficult to figure out why no one invented it before. The bump, which is made up of two steel plates, uses a patented device to measure the force of a car's impact. If the car is safely cruising at or below the speed limit, the plates collapse. But if a driver is speeding by, the plates stay raised.
At $1,500 per lane with a $50 annual maintenance fee, the bumps won't break the bank. Still, the bumps, which were developed with developing countries in mind, could easily get stolen. And with over 18,000 speed bumps lurking in central Mexico City alone, the smart bumps are unlikely to make a big splash unless the Mexican government gets a sudden infusion of cash. But there's no reason why the prototype speed bump couldn't be just as useful in more developed countries. After all, the whole world is dealing with the prospect of fuel shortages—not just Mexico.
[Via USA Today]