Many of us have seen the bumper sticker featuring a gun-toting Yosemite Sam and the words "Back Off." Turns out Honda wants to make them obsolete.

The Japanese automaker said it has developed the first-ever vehicle communications system geared to cut both traffic jams and fuel use by monitoring a driver's acceleration and braking habits and providing information that Honda says will encourage smoother driving.

Honda, along with the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, has developed on-board terminals that connect to cloud-based computing systems that allow communications between cars on the same road and provide information designed to encourage the driver to maintain a relatively constant driving distance between the vehicles in front. In other words, tail-gating is bad for both traffic and fuel economy, and Honda's system discourages it. Honda will conduct the first public-road tests of the product in Italy and Indonesia starting next month.

The system differs from traffic monitoring systems that have been part of other vehicles' communication systems in that it provides color-coded displays to indicate whether the driver needs to drive smoother and make his or her acceleration and deceleration more gradual. Honda says its system, when tested in a group of cars, boosted average speed by 23 percent and increased fuel economy of trailing vehicles by eight percent. Not bad for some cloud computing.
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Honda Develops World's First Technology to Detect the Potential for Traffic Congestion With the Goal to Prevent Traffic Jams

Public-road Testing to Begin in May 2012

TOKYO, Japan, April 26, 2012 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced the successful development of the world's first*1 technology to detect the potential for traffic congestion and determine whether the driving pattern of the vehicle is likely to create traffic jams. Honda developed this technology while recognizing that the acceleration and deceleration behavior of one vehicle influences the traffic pattern of trailing vehicles and can trigger the traffic congestion.

In conjunction with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, Honda conducted experimental testing of a system utilizing the technology to detect the potential for traffic congestion. The test results demonstrated that the system helped increase the average speed by approximately 23 of trailing vehicles.

With the goal to bring this technology to market, Honda will begin the first public-road testing of the technology in Italy and Indonesia in May and July of this year, respectively, to verify the effectiveness of the technology in minimizing vehicle congestion.

Rather than providing information to help the driver avoid existing congestion based on current traffic information, the system monitors the acceleration and deceleration patterns of the vehicle to determine whether the driver's driving pattern is likely to create traffic congestion. Based on this determination, the system provides the driver with appropriate information, including a color-coded display through the on-board terminal, to encourage smooth driving which will help alleviate the intensity of acceleration and deceleration by trailing vehicles, thereby helping to prevent or minimize the occurrence of vehicle congestion.

Moreover, the positive effect on minimizing congestion and fuel efficiency improvement can be further increased*4 by connecting the on-board terminals to cloud*2 servers to make the driver aware of and in sync with the driving patterns of vehicles ahead by activating the ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control)*3 system at the right time to maintain a constant distance between vehicles at the most appropriate interval.

Traffic congestion causes not only a delay in arrival time but also an increase in CO2 emissions and a higher potential for rear-end collisions. Striving to realize "the joy and freedom of mobility" and "a sustainable society where people can enjoy life," as stated in the Honda Environmental Vision, Honda will work toward the establishment of a congestion-free mobility society all around the world.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I already have a better system then this, it's called the human brain and it cost less. Nobody will mess with my gas pedal and nobody will flash stupid information on my dash and nobody will break for me. These systems can trigger sundently for no reasons and provoke an accident. If you race your car on weekends then you will certainly finnish last. Also this system can provoke an engine failure because if you decide to accelerate but the system judge that there is no space in front of you then you get confuse and you push more on the gas pedal and when the system decide finnally that there is sufficient space in front then the engine kick in very violently because the gas pedal is at maximum and you break your engine and transmission.
      Tony Kalniev
      • 2 Years Ago
      ok but come on guys, drivers should be aware that during traffic, there is no need to accelerate so quick and then come to a halt immediately after that and i see it everyday. people just dont look ahead or are just idiots. wouldn't it be cheaper if schools properly educate new drivers of how to behave during congestion???
        nbsr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tony Kalniev
        Educating drivers is always a good idea but odds are against us. There will always be people like Tysto, who will try to be ahead of others by a couple of meters, even if that means stalling the traffic. This is just part of our nature (or theory of games). For each Tysto you'd need several guys trying to equalize the traffic - not sure where we could find them, though. After all they would end up behind others (not a big deal - letting one car in front of you costs you ~2s, but psychologically that's quite a barrier). Another solution (and a trivial one) is enforcing single-lane(s) traffic with an *average* speed limit. I've seen this in action in several places and the traffic was always extremely smooth. It was really a huge difference me as a driver. Surprisingly, it was also a pleasant experience (relaxing ride, and virtually no way to breach the rules, other than bumping into other cars). It's only in such moments when you realize how much we are normally racing while driving.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tony Kalniev
        If we just educated people, they would eat properly and not be obese. If we just educated people, there would be not hate or prejudice. If we just educated people, we wouldn't need police. Think of all the strange things out there, purple cars that bounce up and down with 24" wheels, or monstor trucks (notice how I hit more than one culture there do no one should scream?). Education will never stop people from being idiots. We have to let them and try to mitigate the damage.
        george costanza
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tony Kalniev
        talking on cell phones has been illegal in this state for several years now. still every single person driving by if you sit and watch are talking on cell phones. SUVs frequently hit others and always always it is 'not their fault' it is like giant suvs get a get out of jail free card courtesy of big oil which owns everything god forbid peple drove human sized cars again in the US where they could actually SEE and pretend they are human!!!
      Tysto
      • 2 Years Ago
      No I'm not recommending you rush up to the car in front of you. I didn't say that. And you are the one applying mathematics to a human problem. What plenty of studies show is that, when faced with a slow down of traffic or a truck sitting on the shoulder, timid drivers over-brake and give themselves more than necessary room, then fail to speed up to normal traffic speed when they have the opportunity. This causes a chain reaction of slow-downs behind them, creating a traffic jam. Tailgating can cause accidents, but it is not the major reason for traffic jams.
      george costanza
      • 2 Years Ago
      or just ignore aholes behind you in giant hemis. and dont tailgate. it USED to be common sense. before todays texting hurry up and wait got to get to mcds to get even fatter or mao mart to buy ever more disposable communist junk while ignoring everybody else and be as aggressive as possible behind the wheel even if you are an old lady or soccer mom mentality. stay several car lengths behind and be oblivious to others in cars who are 99% aholes. be courteous to pedestrians and bicyclists.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @george costanza
        Well go figure. I agree with one of George's angry rants. 'their killing independent George!'
      • 2 Years Ago
      This works fine until someone fills the space in front of you, and you slow down, and slow the cars behind you, and suddenly your solution becomes the problem. Pointing fingers at the guy who cut you off is no help -- ignoring common behavior is not wisdom.
      Tysto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Tailgating is not what causes traffic jams. Slowing down to maintain a greater-than-strictly-necessary following distance is what causes traffic jams. Notice that even in this diagram, the seventh car is a full car-length further back. Now multiply that by several hundred cars and now you've got a traffic backup of several miles.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        @Tystso, You are loosely trying to apply math to the situation assuming it's static when in fact, it's a fluid dynamics problem. Certainly, if the cars were sitting still, then the total distance from the front of the queue is minimized by having the cars sit bumper to bumper and as you point out, the cars in back are further from the front in the diagrams above. But consider what is really happening in the two cases and in which one the car in back actually gets to that spot in front first: 1) They are bumper to bumper and continuously stopping and starting 2) They are spread out and going smooth and steady There are plenty of studies and mathematical models showing the "accordion effect" and that maintaining the distance allows all the cars to go faster and the road to handle more total volume of traffic. Because you assume you are somehow "going faster" by rushing up to the car in front of you and then having to stop is why our roads are so congested already.
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          Tysto, so you're saying that you don't think tailgating causes people to brake harder than they normally would...and that unnecessarily braking harder has nothing to do with the traffic jams? You're in denial.
        george costanza
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        too many people driving their own cars and treating oil like a personal slave is what causes traffic jams (and global warming pollution asthma respiratory disease etc). lazy a$$ and obese (they DO go together and it ISNT rocket science) americans who cant walk one fu*ing block is what is causing obesity (and traffic jams). you aren't IN a traffic jam. you ARE the traffic jam.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        Tysto No question that some tailgating is dangerous and annoying, but so are mad suggestions to impose even further regulations. After more than 40 years of driving, I don't want my car telling me how to drive ! One more good reason not to by Honda,
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Geez Marco, you're channeling your inner American today! "You can drive my car when you pry it off my cold dead A$$!"
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Works in loss control and risk management.... I just shake my head and sigh....(you comment was fine....but Tysto)....
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Dave Martin Your comments remind me of a famous cartoon by the '60's underground artist R C Cobb. It depicted two men sitting of a park bench, in identical suits with numbers attached in a sterile neat urban concrete plaza, with security cameras every where and a heavily armed police presence in and armoured car watch with binoculars and listening devices. One man turns to the other and says, "well, at least we don't have to worry about anarchy anymore!"
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          If the freedom that is infringed is the right to continue to kill and main without let or hindrance, then I come down on the side of those who prefer to have the freedom to carry on living: 'In the last 100 years, more than 2.8 million persons have died, and nearly 100 million persons have been injured on U.S. roads and highways .' http://www.aaafoundation.org/pdf/SleetDinhZarrDellinger.pdf To that should be added perhaps the same number again for those killed or suffering severe breathing difficulties, heart attacks and so on due to emissions from motor vehicle. We now have it clearly in sight via electric vehicles to greatly reduce the toll of emissions, and through automated driving and as strict as are needed controls on motor vehicles to vastly reduce the accident toll. People have a perfect right to drive as fast as they want, on the track but not on public highways, so putting others at risk.
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is common sense and I do this all the time to smooth out things when I'm sitting in traffic. The good news is that when you do it, the people following you actually seem to calm down and 'get it" and usually start doing it as well. Unfortunately it seems to have the opposite affect on the lanes beside you. You can't do it very effectively and have to cut the separation down below the optimal level because some moron in the lane next to you will see the "gap" and cut over to get in front of you causing you to brake harder and actually make the situation worse. You have to judge it just right so that you leave a bit of space and smooth it out without leaving so much space that others try to take advantage of it. It's great that Honda are recognizing this opportunity and trying to address it, but their automated system can't stop the cars in the side lanes from being human and screwing it up by cutting over in front of the car. Not possible until you control all the cars...and that will never happen. The bumper stickers: "You can drive my car when you pry it off my cold dead A$$!". LOL Hey, we're still Americans.
        george costanza
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        no you cant stop everybody else from being aholes. funny that people in US are rude when they are behind the wheel of giant hemis but wouldnt dare have an attitude to your face...just like how we fight our wars now.with drones and geeky pimple faced nerds using joysticks. no conscience. if we could somehow get OUT of cars period maybe more could become human again. until then, rage on!
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @george costanza
          When you ride by yourself in a car you have a personal bubble of space that creates the aura of self importance and leads to selfish driving. When you ride a bike or public transport it is more apparent how we are all interconnected and dependent on one another. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cager
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