Speed Bumps That Flatten for Slow Speeds

Today my uncle and I were driving in his truck. We live in the USA, in Minnesota, where it’s currently snowing; his truck has a plow on the front. We were traveling at a modest 10 mph, and suddenly there’s a speed bump, we go over it, CRUNK goes the plow into the ground afterward, we almost flip the truck! We weren’t even going fast, and we were punished!

What could be done! Designers Jae-yun Kim & Jong-Su Lee say it’s time to move on! No more of this silly giant bumps in the road when we could advance!

So what do they do?

They make a speed bump that’s based on retractors that open if the impact with them is small enough. These speed bumps can be configured so that if a car is going below 30km/h, the speed bump flattens; over 30km/h, the force causes the retractor to stay closed, keeping the speed bump active.

What a lovely goal: “Encouraging drivers to retain a constant slow speed will reduce the amount of stops and starts made, and thus, the amount of exhaust waste from the car. It is hoped that this retractable speed hump would therefore have positive effects on energy consumption and pollution.”

Designers: Jae-yun Kim & Jong-Su Lee

121 Comments

  • Brian says:

    Seems like it might work in theory, would like to see it work on a car in motion however because the amount of force might be too much for either orientation. Also, this would greatly increase the cost of speed bumps in the US as they currently made very cheaply by using asphalt without fancy heavy duty polycarbonates or LEDs.

    • John says:

      I assume that because you’re viewing this blog you have a passing interest in concept design if not being a designer yourself. That being said, this “lack of vision” attitude of “don’t believe it till I see it, too expensive, wouldn’t be able to compete”, is the same attitude that will prevent you from doing something great. Most revolutionaries were criticized the most for their ideas. And don’t give me this, “I’m just being realistic” crap. Learn to have a more holistic view of designing and implementing a concept. I’m not defending this concept in particular, just against the attitude of naysayers.

      • Olav says:

        Lets just wait till 2012!

        • Rich says:

          haters. This idea sounds awesome to me. I especially hate those really quick and very high speed bumps that can single handedly ruin your day in 1 split second.

          • tofu mogu says:

            I think this is a very good idea, and should be widely used. My sister has Perthes, which means that the bone in her hip has died, and a side affect of this is that her muscles become very stiff, and painfull when they move.

            The speed bumps in our neiborhood are VERY tall and make your car bounce horribly even when going the posted speed of 20 mph.

            This sounds like an awesome idea to me. :c)

          • careless says:

            I care nothing about the first comment or and of the replies thus far. I only replied to push the second actual comment, which I also car nothing about, further down the page.

          • 3 characters long says:

            wakka wakka zan dingo ma pinga

          • tofu mogu says:

            I think this is a very good idea, and should be widely used. My sister has Perthes, which means that the bone in her hip has died, and a side affect of this is that her muscles become very stiff, and painfull when they move.

            The speed bumps in our neiborhood are VERY tall and make your car bounce horribly even when going the posted speed of 20 mph.

            This sounds like an awesome idea to me. :c)

          • careless says:

            I care nothing about the first comment or and of the replies thus far. I only replied to push the second actual comment, which I also car nothing about, further down the page.

          • 3 characters long says:

            wakka wakka zan dingo ma pinga

      • Mike says:

        if, by logic, a idea is impractical (high production cost, high maintenance cost…all of which would come back to the taxpayers) then it is time to move on and not continue along a dead end path.

        • Eric says:

          The reason that sounds ridiculous to me is because you can’t prove to me that by the year 20__ this will no longer have a high production cost/high maintenance cost. It will be so improved by 20__ that version 1.0 will seem to have come from a feeble mind, generations back. It actually makes more sense to me that cars will be driving themselves before all these different automated “traffic control” ideas could be implemented. It’s not a dead end path yet though. Because nothing better has come along yet there isn’t anything else to improve upon apart from what we have already got concepts for… Technology grows exponentially! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Henrique Staino says:

    I think it increases the cost too much…
    It is better to stop driving cars with plows.

  • Keith says:

    How exactly does the product work?

  • Heylin says:

    Why not have it generate energy from the motion as well, powering a speed bump sign or something.

  • Brady says:

    I think this is a pretty good idea and most especially with Heylin’s comment on it being a way to generate power.
    Considering the little amount of energy used for the amount of light put out by LEDs, I see more than just potential for lighting a small “Speed Bump” sign- in a crowded mall parking lot, these could generate energy enough to light warning curbs/fire lane curbs, and crosswalks as well.

    Great idea.

  • Joe says:

    Good idea. Speed bumps rated at 25mph generally cost around $1,200 each. This might raise the cost a little bit, but a significantly increased safety factor.

    Would be nice if there was a way to enable it to go lat for approaching emergency vehicles. Many cities do not allow speed bumps because they hinder emergency vehicle progress.

    If they were self charging from the drop motion, they could recognize emergency vehicles or emergency vehicle signals and drop on their approach in order to be safe.

    • Rich says:

      Good point. If they could control what height the speed bumps were at any given time, maybe they could be placed near intersections and change levels when the lights change. Thus perhaps encouraging drivers to slow down when normally they would speed up…. just a thought.

  • freelanc3r says:

    I’m not an expert in physics, but it seems that you could achieve the same effect by simply using a pneumatic spring… A car travelling at a higher velocity would hit the spring quickly and forcefully not giving the pneumatic spring time to collapse causing the spring to remain rigid, whereas a slower traveling vehicle would give the spring time to collapse allowing for softer passage.

    There would be no need for LED sensors and the cost would be less. Though I believe to be effective the duration of time on the speed bump would have to be increased, but it should prove just as effective.

    Though I really like the idea of noting emergency vehicles and flattening completely.

  • cerberus says:

    think of the engineering issues ! how many times would you expect this device to operate between needing servicing? moving parts + fine tolerances + road grime = mechanism failure. The snow you mmentioned would be melting , finding its way into the mechinism of the the unit -bringing with it any other contaminants – refreezing and causing all sorts of havoc witht the moving parts. The overall intent is a noble one, but the solution is not this

  • Lamah says:

    They’re called dynamic speed bumps, and they’ve already been around for a long time.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1178

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article588894.ece

  • Nikkoli says:

    Actually there is a number of ’emergency friendly speed humps’ that were installed in my neighborhood. Turns out the people on the association board responsible for them didn’t realize what that meant.

    The gist is they are ‘tuned’ to the speed of the street and if you are going 30% faster than the speed limit for that street, its like its not there. That means in a 35mph zone, if you are going 45 your car will rise up and back down in a smooth transition — no damage, no jarring motion.

  • magikal04 says:

    They need to implement these. I’m tired of driving my car over bumps of death at a 45หš angle or scraping up the exhaust every time i go over one. I don’t mind going slower over no bumps since I already slow to a crawl to get over the regular bumps. And what’s up wth the ones that have a walkway on them? That just seems like speed bump abuse to me.

  • armendni says:

    Thank goodness this is coming out… my lamborghini gallardo doesn’t mix well with speed bumps ๐Ÿ˜›
    **wishful thinking

  • sk says:

    I wonder why there are so many speed bumpers in the USA.
    I don’t even noticed that people could have a problem with such
    bumpers.
    But if it so, go on and solve the problem! …

  • DaBigCasino says:

    there should be a sensor to track the speed and if the person is going to fast then the speed bump should go up otherwise it should be flat. that way the cops can shut them off remotely if they are in a high speed chase.

  • GiltProto says:

    A cool speed bump was invented by Professor George Swenson at the University of Illinois a long time ago. It dipped down and then up and was designed to resonate your car’s suspension at it’s natural frequency. Basically you wouldn’t feel much of anything if you went slow enough but if went too fast you might end up scraping your back bumper on the ground, at least for those older boat cars they used to make. Can’t find anything on the web but it was mentioned back in 2000 or so in the Eta Kappa Nu Bridge magazine.

  • juanjux says:

    I read about a similar idea from a spanish inventor about a year and a half ago, but using liquid filled bumps. The effect is the same, if you’re below some speed the fluid get out of the way but if you’re fast it doesn’t get time and acts as a normal bump.

  • Fractal the Meek says:

    This is a brilliant idea. Except that I highly doubt these would ever stand up to hundreds of cars per day, let alone snow plows, I don’t care what they say. Concrete FTW!

  • SatyarupaCain says:

    I work for an asphalt company. This is not likely to be implemented any time soon. Durability is a huge factor. We don’t want customers calling every 6 months because the thing broke. Maybe in low traffic situation it would be ok, but on a fairly well traveled road (there are a lot with speedbumps) is this thing really going to hold up?

  • PJ says:

    Our company distributes rubber speed bumps (we do not install them) and I have to agree with SatyarupaCain. Durability and cost are the key issues when it comes to installing speed bumps.

    And also, as he implied, contractors who install them are obligated to their customer’s to install a good, durable, long-lasting, speed bump which requires little or no maintenance.

    Would this “smart” speed bump comply?

  • MuFF says:

    Not for Russai )))

  • Rob says:

    This concept is far too complicated

    Just fill a strong, rubberised sack with custard made from corn starch. It is a non-Newtonian fluid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Newtonian_fluid) which means it hold firm when stressed but otherwise flows.

    A car wheel will cause less shock going at 10 miles an hour compared to 30 and so the fluid will give way and be far less bumpy. At the higher speed it will resist the wheel and be as hard as an asphalt bump ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Brian says:

    Sounds great, but I’m sure they are a hundred times more expensive than the lump of concrete that makes up a normal speed bump.

  • Sam says:

    creative thinking is the essence of design, it doesn’t matter how much it cost, you need not worry about that for the moment for design breakthrough, if this things goes popular, eventually the price statistic will change by then. Keep up the great work!

  • Spuffler says:

    Appearances are deceiving. I operate a snowplow, my plow would simply shear this off the pavement like so much bubblegum before a putty knife. I suggest that someone save the investors some money and demonstrate this device in a parking lot in Maine in January, showing before and after a box plow attached to a Caterpillar loader crosses over it at NORMAL plowing speeds.
    For reference, look at this: http://www.plowsunlimited.com/GeneratedItems/boxplow.htm

    • Eric says:

      How many snowplows do you think sell in Death Valley, Ca every year? Probably not a “hot” commodity there. Are there overhead water misters installed at outdoor seating areas where you live?
      Point is a lot of things appropriate in some locations may not be in others. I can think of thousands of places where it doesn’t snow, at all. I think investors should save their money because speed bumps don’t have “job security” anymore. One day cars really will drive themselves…

  • mhorta says:

    So, if you approach it at the appropriate speed limit, then the bump will remain flat? if not it goes higher?โ€ฆ.mmmโ€ฆ maybe its height should be proportional to the carโ€™s approaching speed ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ikkonoishi says:

    So how long after installing these things would they need to be serviced? The locking mechanism would need to be rugged enough to stand up to the weight of SUVs and large trucks repeatedly running them over.

  • CN says:

    Great idea, I’m sick of having a sore bum!

  • Ch says:

    Hey here’s a better idea… Why not put a shaped charge in the thing, that only goes off if you’re going too fast? Then there wouldn’t have ot be a bumb at all…

    • Ch says:

      And, you wouldn’t even have to put a realcharge in them all… I’d guess 10% would be enough to create the desired effect…

      If it’s ok to destroy someone’s suspension if tehy’re going faster than you like, why not destroy the entire car ? Doesn’t anyone recognize the basic craziness of these things in the first place?? Why, with all the safeguards we allow in our courts to protect the accused until they have bee adjudicated by the justice system, do we allow this sort of device to be placed on the roads ?

  • Celina Nunes says:

    Am I being blonde or would it not be a good idea to work with the displacement of a liquid instead.

    Making a liquid have the correct viscosity would mean it would only displace at a given speed meaning drivers driving slowly would not get a bump drivers driving quickly would not allow the liquid to displace fast enough and get a bump.

    Incorporate the liquid is some sort of sealed flexible body and job done!

  • tunca says:

    hi anyone nows who make this product or anyone produce this speed bumps and also price?

  • lou says:

    why not just get rid of all speed bumps? problem solved.

  • Those seem pretty cool. I wonder if they will actually ever be used.
    -Jack

  • Alex says:

    This invention was designed and made back in 2005 so is not new by any means. It was invented by a British engineer named Graham Heeks and is being used in the City of London in partnership with Dunlop Transcalm.

  • Biohazz says:

    Hi!
    I need help to get in contact with Jae-yun Kim & Jong-Su Lee how can i do this?

    If this product are out in the market can some one tell me where to by it.

    Plz help

    // Biohazz

  • slogrupp says:

    speedbumps are for idiots how about inforcing speed limits and removing unsafe drivers from the streets

  • slogrupp says:

    speedbumps are for idiots how about inforcing speed limits and removing unsafe drivers from the streets

  • Tim says:

    These need to be constructed in my area ASAP! Having a lowered car that's only 4 inches off the ground, speed bumps are my natural enemy -.-

  • Tim says:

    These need to be constructed in my area ASAP! Having a lowered car that's only 4 inches off the ground, speed bumps are my natural enemy -.-

  • dude says:

    dude if it ain’t broke dont fix it….its a speed bump! It already works fine, and that design obviously won’t last long. Moving flimsy cheap steel vs. concrete.

  • Harlowe Thrombey says:

    They need to make the speed bump stay upright not only at too-high speeds, but too-low speeds, as well.

    This will encourage those dummies who feel the need to come to a complete stop at speed bumps… to perhaps maintain a steady flow of motion, as they should.

  • Andy says:

    why would you assume this would be used in the us? And they dont have to be for wide public use, office buildings may wish to employ these. Please view these things with an open mind that understands that there is a big would beyond the US border where a lot more innovation happens than you could ever dream of.

  • ass says:

    Pretty sure these speed bumps would just lead to people playing how fast can I go and still slow down in time to get the speed bump to retract.

  • Waydle says:

    …until that one douche decides to tamper with it and use tools to undo the lock on it…

    you can’t tamper with an asphalt speed bump… just saying… so many dots…

  • I don’t think these will ever be real. Speed bumps are there so that you slow down a lot when passing other them. Why should they lower if you’re driving slow ? So you can gas your car and pass them other with 50km/h ? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • cellurl says:

    I was designing the same thing. I even pitched it to las vegas chamber of commerce. Yours is beautiful!

  • Jerry L. says:

    There’s no need for speed bumps of any kind in Death Valley, California.

  • Tony R. says:

    tunca, nobody makes it. It’s vaporware, just an idea and some pretty computer-generated pictures that were floated five years ago until the designers spent a little more time thinking about it and realized it wasn’t workable.

  • George says:

    I think this is a great idea, especially in places where the speed bump is on a hill making people stop on an incline in the snow is a terrible idea!!

    This would help immensely. Take out the LED’s and just keep the yellow and black paint, that’s good enough.

    should be cost effective then. Just plastic plates with pressure points to measure force to see if they collapse or not. shouldn’t be too hard. You could probably even just use industrial springs to be honest..

    plastic and springs and paint.. and a way to mount them in the road. shouldn’t be too bad or costly!

    keep up the good work!

  • Everson says:

    I have been thinking of designing something similar for quite sometime now and am so glad someone has also thought about it in the same way. My concept is slightly different from what has been described here but the end result would be the same which not to punished unnecessarily by speed humps!

Comments are closed.