Mazda to take part in Intelligent Transportation System trials

The Japanese are moving ahead with trials of Intelligent Transportation Systems and Mazda is joining in with trials on public roads around their base of Hiroshima. Mazda will be contributing several dozen vehicles equipped with advanced navigation and communication systems that will be part of a mesh network between vehicles and the road infrastructure. The goal of the ITS is transmit information about what is going in between the vehicles to allow them to react pre-emptively or notify the driver so that alternate routes can be taken to avoid traffic. The tests will determine what technologies are viable so that they can move forward with developing them toward production.
[Source: Mazda]

Mazda to Participate in ITS Trials on Public Roads in Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA, Japan-To promote improved road safety, Mazda Motor Corporation has announced its intention to take part in public road trials in the Hiroshima area to help validate a new Intelligent Transport System (ITS). The road trials are due to commence in fall 2007.

Intelligent Transport Systems use the latest in high-tech telecommunications to create an information network encompassing people, roads and vehicles. The objective of this new traffic system is to work toward solutions for transport problems such as road accidents, congestion and damage to the environment.

Mazda's role in these validation trials will be to develop an in-car navigation system that supports the ITS. Mazda will also supply several dozen test vehicles from which data will be collected and analyzed. Additionally, it is developing a safe driving support system - an arrangement of cameras and sensors placed along roads that will transmit information to drivers - to be compatible with the ITS infrastructure.

Mazda will take part in the public road tests as part of a consortium of local government, academia and industry in the Hiroshima area that was formed during last year's Hiroshima Conference on ITS Validation on Public Roads [Chair: Prof. Akimasa Fujiwara, Hiroshima University Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC)]. In addition to promoting discussion on trials of the latest ITS technologies in the 2007-2008 period, the conference also covered activities to encourage the spread of ITS systems throughout Japan.

The Hiroshima area has many road environments that will enable a wide range of test conditions for the verification trials, for example:

- The numerous bridges over the many rivers in the Hiroshima area include arched bridges, which have dangerous blind summits.
- Roads that accommodate both trams and motor vehicles, which have complicated traffic dynamics.
- Lowlands and mountain regions are situated close together, which can create unexpected variations in weather and road surface conditions.

The equipment to be tested includes:

1. A system to identify the extent of road congestion.
2. A warning system to prevent speeding.
3. A system to prevent rear-end collisions at traffic signals.
4. A head-on collision prevention support system.
5. A right-turn collision prevention support system (identifies approaching trams, oncoming traffic and pedestrians crossing the street).
6. An in-transit information system.

The safe driving support system technology that will be trialed collates information from the ITS infrastructure and from vehicles (vehicle condition, driver operation) to monitor local traffic flows and individual driver responses. It then uses this information to identify potentially dangerous situations and judge whether a warning or an alarm should be triggered. This marks a large step forward in terms of functionality compared to previous ITS systems that merely provided information to drivers.

Mazda aims to use the trials to establish usable ITS technologies which can be introduced in the near future to reduce the number of traffic accidents and lessen the impact of transportation on the environment.

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