Honda's traffic jams prevention system

It happens every time traffic gets too heavy and starts to slow: One inattentive driver panics and slams on his brakes, triggering a chain reaction that leads to a complete traffic stoppage a few dozen cars behind. If everyone could just slow down, pay attention, and maintain an even speed, we could all get where we're going. Honda hopes to deploy a new system to help make that a reality.

The Japanese automaker 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 to allow communications between cars on the same road that can help drivers maintain a relatively constant driving distance between vehicles. Tailgating is bad for both traffic and fuel economy, and Honda's system discourages it.

The system differs from traffic monitoring systems that have been part of other vehicle communication systems in that it provides color-coded displays to indicate whether the driver needs to drive smoother and make acceleration and deceleration more gradual. The system can also work with adaptive cruise control to automatically regulate speed among a group of vehicles. The first public road tests will occur in Italy and Indonesia starting in May of 2012. Honda says the system can boost average speed by 23 percent and increase fuel economy by eight percent. Not bad for some cloud computing.

Scroll down to read the full press release.
Show full PR text
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% and improved fuel efficiency by approximately 8% 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.