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Honda Debuts Smartphone-Based Pedestrian And Motorcycle Detection System

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Supercharged Honda CR-Z concept, 2012 SEMA show

Supercharged Honda CR-Z concept, 2012 SEMA show

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Honda is the latest automaker to explore the safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle anti-collision technology, demonstrating two new products that could make cars much safer to be around. The new Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) and Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) technology expand upon the concept of Car 2 Car communication--allowing vehicles to share information about others' whereabouts even if they aren't in sight, helping prevent collisions before they have a chance to take place.

Honda's V2P tech is based on Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology, which can detect pedestrians with a DSRC-enabled smartphone. Combining data from the smartphone's GPS and wireless technology between phone and car, the system can detect whether a pedestrian is at risk of being struck by a car. Taking the pedestrian's speed, direction and position into consideration, the system sends both an audio and a visual signal to both pedestrian and driver, alerting them to the situation.

If this all sounds a little obvious--picture a car driving down a road while a pedestrian is crossing, both in plain view--Honda suggests it's at its most useful should a pedestrian be hidden behind a parked vehicle, or around a corner as a driver turns. The warnings also alert the pedestrian should their senses be compromised--by listening to music, for example.

It's very similar to technology also being developed by General Motors, that uses Wi-Fi Direct signals to alert vehicles to a smartphone-carrying pedestrian potentially hidden from view. 13 percent of the 33,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year involve pedestrians--emphasizing the technology's importance.

The V2M system works on similar principles. Motorcycles, like pedestrians, have a high chance of being hidden by larger objects. As the system can monitor both the driver's and rider's positions, it can provide the driver of a warning should a motorcycle be hidden from view.

"While these are still experimental technologies," said Jim Keller, chief engineer for Honda R&D Americas, Inc, "they provide a strong indication of the future potential for the kinds of advanced collision sensing and predictive technologies Honda is developing to further reduce the potential for serious accidents, injuries and even fatalities."

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