GM working on new safety technologies

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Researchers at General Motors are at work on new technology that could warn drivers about potentially dangerous situations ahead such as stalled vehicles, slippery roads, sharp curves and even hard-braking drivers. While it's true that radio traffic updates and road signs already do some of this, GM is up to something much more advanced with its "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) communication technology.

The American automaker is researching the uses of Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) in a mobile transponder as well as a smartphone application. Both of these mobile technologies can be embedded into GM vehicles, resulting in communication between vehicles within a range of approximately 0.4 km (a quarter-mile). The mobile transponder is outfitted with its own display screen, while the smartphone application makes use of the vehicle's audio and video display systems to communicate with the driver.

Vehicles equipped with either type of V2V technology can send and receive messages to and from other vehicles in the surrounding area, or to and from similarly-equipped infrastructure such as traffic lights. For example, two vehicles equipped with the V2V technology can alert one another when approaching an intersection from opposing sides. A driver could also be notified if the driver of another vehicle up ahead applies their brakes suddenly, therefore helping to eliminate the chance of a collision. In this way, V2V technology can even allow drivers to notify each other about hazardous road conditions nearby.

"These safety systems could provide a significant leap in automotive safety, but their effectiveness goes up dramatically as more people use them," said Don Grimm, senior researcher for GM's Perception and Vehicle Control Systems group. "By putting the technology into portable devices, we could make this potentially life-saving technology widely available and more affordable."

Drivers aren't the only ones who can benefit from this stream of technology: GM says that pedestrians and cyclists who download the DSRC application to their smartphones will be able to automatically inform drivers of V2V-equipped vehicles about their specific location. This could help to reduce the number of collisions between drivers and pedestrians as well as drivers and cyclists.

"The technology we're testing right now is a viable solution for providing crucial safety information to drivers," Grimm said. "Instead of just seeing what's right in front of them, drivers will be able to know about the truck a quarter-mile ahead that's stalled in their lane. Later this decade, smartphones, transponders and embedded systems could be working together to make our roadways safer."

GM will be showcasing this new safety technology at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Orlando, Florida.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: GM, Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications,

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