Smartphones could save cyclists

17:00, Jul 27 2012
Wireless Pedestrian Detection Technology
SMARTPHONE: Your mobile phone may one day ensure you don't get knocked off your bike.

Car maker General Motors says it is working on a smart phone application that will let cyclists and pedestrians automatically warn a driver once they get close.

According to GM, the Wireless Pedestrian Detection Technology is based on Wi-Fi Direct, a computer networking standard that allows smartphones to swap information without needing a wireless hotspot to connect them.

The car maker's researchers say the system can integrate with "other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available on production vehicles" to alert drivers within a second when they approach a cyclist or pedestrian with a smartphone loaded with the wireless technology.

It is already working on a downloadable app for high-risk road users such as bike-based couriers and roadwork crews.

"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," Nady Boules, the director of GM Global R&D's Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab, says.

The Wi-Fi Direct standard allows for devices to be able to "see" each other from distances of up to 200 metres away.

Researchers say the standard also allows car makers to improve car-to-car communications, which will be increasingly important as our roads become more crowded and vehicles start to talk to each other to work out the best route home.


Sydney Morning Herald