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Honda's pedestrian avoidance technology can stop a car ... Honda's pedestrian avoidance technology can stop a car going 50 mph. (Sharon Carty)
TOKYO – Bringing the Japanese fascination with technology to its cars, Honda plans on introducing software in the next 10 years that could keep its cars from ever crashing into anything ever. Or at least, that's the goal.

The company is pushing researchers to find ways to make its cars smarter about detecting pedestrians, determining which cars may cut in front of you, and eventually using vehicle-to-vehicle communication to keep cars from crashing.

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said the automaker is trying to balance its commitment to safety with its culture of proving fun-to-drive cars.

"Our philosophy is that the cars should not be controlling the driver, the driver should enjoy driving," Ito said in a small group interview with journalists at Honda's research and development facility in the Tochigi prefecture, Japan. "At the same time, we are happy to develop technology that helps assist drivers be safer drivers."

In other words, don't expect Honda to develop driverless cars. They'll leave that to the Googles of the world.

The automaker is focusing its efforts now on preventing pedestrian crashes – because those have the highest fatality rates – and rear-end crashes, because those are the most frequent accident type.

We got to test drive some of the technologies at Honda's annual meeting. The automaker is hoping it will bring some of these tools to Japan and the U.S. in 2 to 3 years.

Here's what they've already got in the works:

Pedestrian detection: Many automakers are already working on this kind of technology, with mixed results. Cars use cameras or radar technology to sense when a person-shaped thing is walking in the road. The car will brake to help avoid the crash.

Honda is trying to up the game in pedestrian avoidance systems by having its system work at higher speeds. Other systems tend to work only up to 30 to 40 mph; Honda's will bring its cars to a full stop even if the car is going 50 mph when it detects someone crossing the road.

Green light timer: Honda calls this simple-but-smart technology "Green Wave Driving Support System." It's essentially a visual timer that lets drivers know how fast they should drive to make sure they make it to the next light while it's still green.

Many drivers go too fast in between lights, wasting gas as they accelerate and then stepping hard on the brakes when they need to stop. The green light system shows a green bar along the speedometer, letter drivers know they should go, say, 35 to 45 mph between lights to make sure they get to the next one while it's green.

It also has a countdown bar on the speedometer that tells the driver how much longer until a red light turns green.

Honda said it believes the green light timer will save gas and prevent rear-end collisions, because people won't need to slam on the brakes as often.

Adaptive cruise control with cut-in detection: Adaptive cruise control is still a pretty rough technology. Although it does a fabulous job of keeping space between cars by adjusting vehicle speed, it only senses the car in front of it. So if a car cuts into your lane, your car will brake suddenly and heavily, which could result in a rear-end crash.

Honda's cut-in prediction adaptive cruise control senses six cars on the road in front of it across multiple lanes, judging their speed and size. If, for example, there is a slow-moving truck in the lane to your right, it can sense if a faster-moving car suddenly comes up on the right and will predict that that car will turn quickly into your lane. The car will ease off the gas or slowly engage the brake to let the car slow down slightly.

Further down the line, Honda plans to introduce radars that can detect whether motorcycles are heading into a driver's path (another segment of car crashes that ends up in high fatalities), vehicle-to-vehicle communications that could prevent intersection crashes, steering control through cruise control that would keep a car in its lane, and head-on collision avoidance.



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  • 51 Comments
      Tammy
      • 2 Years Ago
      they need 2 fix the PAINT problem first !! Great car but the paint sucks
      • 2 Years Ago
      it would also be a neat technology if an automaker developed an auto-correct/autopilot in vehicles that lose control in bad weather. Such as a car hydroplaning or hitting a patch of ice and losing control. It could run an autopilot program that will take control of the car and determine the best course of action to either correct the vehicle or direct the vehicle in the safest direction to avoid the lest amount of damage
      okhomejames
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sure, have a fleet of cabs with no drivers and show me a safe way to the airport ! Good luck with THAT one.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you think Frank`s story is really cool..., four weeks ago my mum basically also easily made $7148 grafting eleven hours a week from there house and the're buddy's sister-in-law`s neighbour has been doing this for 5 months and errned over $7148 part-time at their computer. apply the advice on this web-site,. Cloud65.com
      janka51
      • 2 Years Ago
      America should aim for no foreign cars in 10 years or 5 would be better !
        • 2 Years Ago
        @janka51
        Do your homework. That would put more people in the USA out of work than "the big three" combined. Toyota, Honda etc... have plants all over the United States in right to work states, not to mention 1000's of suppliers. PS did I mention an Italian company now owns the Jeep!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @janka51
        Let's see... if the rest of the world stopped eating American food, that would collapse Kraft and McDonalds. And if they stopped buying American planes and weapons... And if they stopped using American software. Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot. America is the most powerful country in the world. Everybody else doesn't matter. Until the Chinese ask you to repay the debt they've bought!
      Leo
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is a great idea. However how do you stop other cars from hitting you?
      Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just who are the NIPS going to copy to come up with that. A RE-CYCLED beer can car, that at best bet lives 10 years in the north, and doesnt even rate in the gas per gallon contest anylonger. The only reason they sell is because they are CHEAP. And alas, americans like CHEAP stuff.
      floppypawltd
      • 2 Years Ago
      Freaking ENOUGH NANNYING ALREADY. I will never ever buy another Honda again. I have owned three Civics so far all good but this is the last straw.
      rapidrunner
      • 2 Years Ago
      my honda is already crash proof it wont start..only runs down hill..dealer hasnt a clue.. junk car
      dodie1990
      • 2 Years Ago
      All this electronic garbage makes these cars impossible to repair when they get older. The extreme amounts of salt corrode all the electrical connections and create all kids of headaches. Wiring harnesses do not do well in the constant salt bath if the northern U.S. All this technology will make cars unrepairable. And really do you need a car so complex you have to look up how to turn on ter radio or heater?>
      endlessdrip
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'll buy every single option they put on the Fit Sport. I love my Fit.
      htharley45
      • 2 Years Ago
      there is already a smart car, and it is a big flop
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