As the EU ramps up its Intelligent Car Initiative, more and more carmakers are coming forward with car-to-car communications systems and advanced collision avoidance systems to help guide traffic and reduce accidents. Nissan's system is among the latest to be displayed, coming on the heels of a similar system shown by General Motors this week.

Nissan's system, dubbed 'Intelligent Transport System', combines a cellular communications with vehicle telematics to help avert pedestrian-related accidents. The unique pedestrian focus makes sense in major urban environments where there is as much foot traffic as there is vehicular traffic.

The system works by detecting pedestrian position from GPS cell phone data, which is relayed to an information server, that processes that information and takes into account vehicle position data, relaying a warning message about the potential for a collision where appropriate. The warning comes in the form of a visual and audible alert, including voice messages and a screen display on the navigation system.

A pilot project will be run between November 1 and December 27 in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, on the southwest edge of the Tokyo metro area. The system has been in limited testing since April, 2007. The new large-scale community-based trial is hoped to yield real-world data as to the system's effectiveness.

For the wide-scale test, 500 pedestrians and 200 drivers will be using the equipment necessary to realize the prototype network. Other goals of the project include optimizing the data-processing logic of the system and confirming the necessary anticipation to account for driver response time and the car's decelerative capabilities.

General Motors' car-to-car communications system, showcased at its Opel plant in Russelsheim, Germany this week, focuses on warning drivers about other vehicles that may pose a danger. It relays information between cars and between roadside modules that can also communicate with the computer systems inside passing cars. With this network of information in place, drivers can be warned in advance of cars that may be on a collision course.