Car and pedes­trian col­li­sion? There’ll soon be an app for that

Tech Advisor - - NEWS -

The new sys­tem will alert driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans of po­ten­tial col­li­sions, re­ports

Asafety sys­tem that ties to­gether cars and smart­phones to stop those heart-stop­ping near misses be­tween cars and pedes­tri­ans could be stan­dard­ised by the end of this year.

The tech­nol­ogy in­volves smart­phones broad­cast­ing data over a short-range ra­dio chan­nel to nearby cars, so the cars can de­ter­mine whether a col­li­sion is likely. Un­like to­day’s radar-based sys­tems, this can warn around blind corners and alert both the driver and pedes­trian.

It’s be­ing de­vel­oped by engi­neers at Honda and was demon­strated re­cently at the com­pany’s new re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter in Moun­tain View, in the heart of Sil­i­con Val­ley.

In the demon­stra­tion that took place in a car park, a car was slowly cruis­ing a row look­ing for a space. Ahead, and un­seen to the driver, a pedes­trian was walk­ing be­tween a car and a four-by-four while lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, and about to step into the path of the on­com­ing ve­hi­cle.

Sec­onds be­fore the pedes­trian could emerge and the two came close to col­li­sion, an alert sounded in the car: “Dis­tracted pedes­trian” and a warn­ing ap­peared on the car’s LCD to brake. The pedes­trian too re­ceived a sim­i­lar alert, telling him to watch out. If the driver hadn’t hit the brakes, the car would have au­to­mat­i­cally come to a halt.

Honda has been work­ing on the tech­nol­ogy for around three years and the first it­er­a­tion is ex­pected to be sub­mit­ted for stan­dard­i­s­a­tion around the end of this year, said Sue Bai, a prin­ci­pal engi­neer at Honda re­search and de­vel­op­ment, who has been de­vel­op­ing it.

She said it came about af­ter a chance en­counter with work­ers from Qual­comm, while at a con­fer­ence in the UK. They got to talk­ing about how the two com­pa­nies could work to­gether and came up with the idea of ty­ing Honda cars with Qual­comm phone chips. The com­mu­ni­ca­tion takes place over a chan­nel in the 5.9GHz band that is ded­i­cated for in­tel­li­gent trans­porta­tion sys­tems. That’s a fre­quency not used in cur­rent smart­phones, but close enough that Qual­comm engi­neers were able to come up with a firmware mod­i­fi­ca­tion so that it works on an off-the-shelf hand­set. No cus­tom hard­ware is re­quired in the phone.

Mar­tyn Wil­liams

In ad­di­tion to the pedes­trian’s po­si­tion and di­rec­tion of move­ment, it also transmits whether the pedes­trian might be dis­tracted, for ex­am­ple if the per­son is lis­ten­ing to mu­sic or com­pos­ing email while walk­ing.

It’s not in­tended to re­place radar-based anti-col­li­sion sys­tems, but to pro­vide another layer of safety.

The pro­posed stan­dard also in­cludes at­tributes for oth­ers who may be in the road­way and at a higher level of risk, such as con­struc­tion work­ers, po­lice and emer­gency crews, cy­clists or the dis­abled. The stan­dard looks as though it will have back­ing from US and Euro­pean car­mak­ers, so it could work in­ter­na­tion­ally, too.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.