• Jan 30th 2009 at 10:01AM
  • 32
Earlier this week, a 21-year-old driver got on the wrong entrance ramp to the 10 freeway in Los Angeles and ended up going westbound in the eastbound lanes. Doing up to 70 mph in the fast lane, he collided head-on with a police car and he and the officer were killed instantly. Nissan and West Nippon Expressway are working on technology that, using GPS and Telematics, will work to keep such things from happening.

The R&D is for an "IT-assisted road information system." As is becoming de rigeur these days, it uses your cell phone to detect situations in which a warning might be needed before a dangerous situation. The GPS component would come into play in a wrong-ramp situation, while telematics could be used to warn drivers of long downhill stretches. The efforts join Nissan's bumblebee-and-crash-avoidance research aimed at halving incidents in Nissan vehicles. Hit the jump for the press release.


January 26, 2009

West NEXCO and Nissan Begin Joint Research on IT-Assisted Road Information System
- Research Alliance to Build a System for Accident Prevention and Road Information -

West Nippon Expressway Co., Ltd. (West NEXCO) and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced a cooperative effort to research systems to help prevent accidents and furnish road information to drivers. West NEXCO, which operates expressways in western Japan, and Nissan will enhance and complement existing information systems using information technology (IT) to provide road and traffic condition information to help improve safety and driving comfort on expressways.

The joint project will take advantage of the widespread use and multi-functionality of today's cellular phones. The system will use the Global Positioning System (GPS) and a detailed map database to warn drivers about a number of potentially dangerous situations and conditions - including driving the wrong way on expressway ramps, which frequently causes serious accidents. Responding to frequent occurrences of wrong-way driving with the increase in senior citizen drivers, West NEXCO set up a project team in May 2008 to address this issue as it considered the possibility of joint research with automakers and others using information technology.

The IT-assisted road information system will also employ telematics to help warn drivers about unintended speed changes on ramps and long downhill stretches to help prevent accidents and congestion. Nissan and West NEXCO will also undertake research to assist drivers with probe data on traffic jams, part of West NEXCO's goal of working to help establish total road safety and comfort.

For its part, Nissan has been working extensively with its Intelligent Transportation Systems to halve the number of fatal and injury accidents involving Nissan cars between 1995 and 2015. Through its SKY project it is developing a vehicle communication system linked with traffic infrastructure to help reduce accidents at intersections. Nissan has been conducting large-scale testing of an information system that furnishes drivers with information on pedestrians using communications between vehicles and GPS cell phones held by pedestrians. It has also established a service that warns drivers of icy conditions ahead.

An outline of the joint research project follows:

Joint R&D Using GPS
A new computer application and detailed map data in the car navigation system will be combined with GPS data to help give the driver audio and visual warnings when the car is going the wrong way on a ramp near a service area or interchange.

Joint R&D Using Telematics
Text warnings will appear on the car's navigation display: "Beware of speeding" on long downhill stretches where accidents are common, and "Beware of slowing" near ramps prone to congestion.

Driver Assistance Using Probe Data
Probe data from road-control centers will be better utilized to provide value-added information to vehicles on expressways.

Press Demonstration on Wrong-Way Driving Detection Using GPS and Car Navigation System
The team will conduct experiments to test detection and reporting of wrong-way driving by reprogramming the existing Nissan navigation system and simulating driving the wrong way on a rest-area exit ramp. The experiment will also be open to the press, along with a driving demonstration. The details will be informed later.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Safety is an important consideration, but when your head is where this guys was you shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel. Kudos to Nissan for trying, but I don't know if it could have saved this guy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another gizmo from Nissan. See Launch Control....Use it three times and void the warranty.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, clearly if you didn't see the big "Wrong Way" sign, the bright headlights coming at you, or the horns of people swirving for their lives, the little beep, beep, beep sound will totally let you know you're driving the wrong way.

      Of course version 2 of this warning system will have that voice recording from Planes, Trains & Automobile, "You're going the wrong way!!!"
      • 6 Years Ago
      A drunk person would not acknowledge a nav-bytch talking to him. He owuld turn off or lower the volume on the system.

      I think this is just PR BS because of the accident happen this week
      • 6 Years Ago
      You guys might laugh, but it is not funny when it happens. A few years ago I got lost in New Jersey (NJ has the worst road signs ever) late at night, guess what GPS navigated me to take an exit for a U-turn.

      I took the exit and for some reason this exit is also an exit for another roadway into a local road. The whole exit is circular enough that unless you are a local, there's a good chance you will enter into the exit of the other roadway instead of exiting to a local road. It happened to me and I saw myself heading towards oncoming traffic, I was very lucky that because it was nighttime, the traffic was light and I managed to make a double quick U-turn before anything worse happened.

      Later on I realized there were signs saying wrong way, but it was so small and at night, you will miss it if you look at another direction for a second, which was what I did, because I was trying to read the other exit sign for the local road.

      These things happen when you are not familiar with the local roads, the signs are small or visibility is poor or at night and the local DOT did a poor job of putting both exits together without taking into consideration that a driver might stumble into the other exit lane.

      NJ has the worst road signs!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. Honestly I could possibly except someone accidentally going the wrong way on an empty back road and even that's a stretch, but on the freeway? With all the WRONG WAY signs and incoming traffic? How the hell do you manage to even possibly do that.

      I'm almost kind of glad he's not alive anymore to spread his stupid into the next generation, but it's sad that he killed someone else in the process.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seeing cars coming at you not enough? Then this won't help either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Hey Rick all I see are headlights"
        "That's strange, aren't there supposed to be tailights?"
        "I know"
        "Maybe we're in the wrong lane"
        "If only somebody invented a machine that would tell us if we are"

        Thanks Nissan for fixing these oh-so-likely situations!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Agreed. I mean, I hate when your on the sidewalk and people walk into you when there's only you and him. STAY ON YOUR RIGHT DUH!
      • 6 Years Ago
      And the Darwin Award goes to...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seriously, if you find yourself going the wrong way on the highway often enough that you need a machine to correct the situation I think you have bigger issues.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great. More technology to numb the lack of driving skills.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Common sense is the best wrong way warning system
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yet another step towards all of us being driven around inside giant pillows, unable to see or do anything for fear that we might actually have to make a decision.
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