Car safety technologies are becoming a more and more important problem with the more cars flooding the roads. Auto makers seek to equip vehicles with more so-called active safety features, such as lane departure warnings or forward collision alerts—technology that aims to help drivers avoid a crash, rather than dull the blow of one that has already occurred The three-point seatbelt and the airbags. The three-point seatbelt and the airbags used to be innovative ones, now they are just not enough.
Auto makers today are using radars, lasers and other sensors in some vehicles to help drivers avoid crashes by detecting what’s around them. But what about potential dangers lurking out of sight, such as a pedestrian stepping out into traffic from behind a parked car? Wouldn’t it be nice if people could use their cellphones to prevent car accidents?
Honda Motor Co. thinks it has a solution for that. The Japanese auto maker is working on technology that alerts pedestrians to oncoming cars and sends a warning to their cellphones if they’re about to be struck. Likewise, the technology also warns drivers of crossing pedestrians and passing motorcycles blocked from view.
“The sensors we have now are for the immediate surroundings,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of product planning and logistics for Honda’s American division, during a presentation of some of the company’s advanced safety features.
“These technologies are looking past that, two or three cars up ahead or what you can’t see around the corner,” he added.
Honda’s system uses a phone’s Global Positioning System to send signals to the car about where a pedestrian is located, in what direction they’re traveling and how fast they’re going. It also tells the vehicle whether this person is texting, making a call or listening to music.
The application then calculates the risk of a vehicle-pedestrian collision, and if one is found, alerts the driver with alarms sounding in the car and a flashing display that says “brake.” The pedestrian’s phone also gets a warning to “watch out” and makes a honking sound.