We're fresh from a balmy rooftop deck in downtown Detroit, where Honda held a meeting this week to discuss and demonstrate a few upcoming advanced safety features. A clear focus of the mini event was the company's new Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) technology, with a suite of Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) tech a significant second course.
With spirits still high from announcing the 2014 Odyssey as the first minivan to win the Top Safety Pick+ status from IIHS – and after seeing the application of new high-strength-steel sections of the Acura MDX body structure – Honda shared the fruits of some safety tech that is still in the research phase.
The basis for both the V2P and V2M technologies is simple: let vehicles talk to potential accident targets like pedestrians and motorcyclists. Honda has built up its system using Dedicated Short-Range Communications – a type of wireless communication that has been given a dedicated spectrum for specifically automotive use by the FCC.
When the approaching vehicle is deemed to be likely to strike a moving pedestrian, both driver and walker are alerted with visual and auditory tones.
Essentially, the V2P system (our demo took place with the system in an Acura TL) allows a car to find and track a person whose cell phone has the corresponding transmitting software installed. When the approaching vehicle is deemed to be likely to strike a moving pedestrian, both driver and walker are alerted with visual and auditory tones. The motorcycle system works the same way, useful for not hitting bikes that are often hard to see or obstructed by traffic, though for our demonstration Honda has finished the prototype bike with the V2M display screen and Bluetooth helmet.
As you'll see in the video below, the Honda systems worked quite well in our test setting. R&D representatives were quick to point out that the technology is still very much in the research phase, and though implementation of the systems as-is wouldn't be technically challenging at this point, there are still a number of issues that would need to be settled before we might see this kit in a production model. (Market penetration for the pedestrian side of the software obviously being a large one, with scads of legal hurdles around implementation being a problem, too.)
In terms of promising research, however, we found the Honda demonstrations quite promising. Take a moment to watch the video below, and feel free to browse Honda's V2P and V2M press release as well.