General Motors is developing an all-new driver assistance technology feature designed to help protect pedestrians, cyclists and regular road users by communicating with their mobile phones.
GM’s wireless pedestrian detection technology uses Wi-Fi Direct – the wireless system that allows modern mobiles and smartphones to communicate with each other directly without needing to rely on a shared access point like a phone tower.
Wi-Fi Direct devices can share information between each other within a 200m radius in roughly one second, which makes them ideal for sending signals back to vehicles warning drivers of a pedestrian’s presence.
GM global R&D director of the electrical and control systems research lab Nady Boules said wireless pedestrian protection was the next step in the company’s ongoing development of vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.
“This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car’s blind spot,” Boules said.
GM says the technology has the potential to become a part of its standard safety package in the future, as it seeks to reduce the road toll, which included 4280 pedestrians and 618 cyclists in the US in 2010.
GM says Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicles could also be capable of a number of other data transfer functions, including receiving files, music and address books, infotainment and navigation systems, and traffic management information.