Car crashes at intersections account for 20% of annual traffic deaths, and automakers Honda and Volkswagen are working to lower that number. Though the two companies aren't working together, they're approaching the problem in similar ways with the use of connected technology at smart intersections.
Honda has been working with city of Marysville, Ohio - a place best known for the Honda plant that produces the popular Accord and several Acura models - to develop and implement intersections that are compatible with future cars' onboard sensors. Using vehicle-to-x (V2X) communications and proprietary software, Honda aims to have intersections monitor the roadway for potential hazards and alert drivers in the area to be on the lookout. These hazards include cyclists, pedestrians, emergency vehicles, and others and they'll be watched over by a system of four cameras that continuously create a bird's eye view of the intersection. If the system detects something it deems worth an alert, a notification will be sent to vehicles in the area via short-range (1,500') communications network. Then, it's on drivers to heed that warning and exercise due caution. Currently, these warnings are received in the vehicle via a third party device, but Honda hopes to have the system integrated into vehicles as standard equipment one day.
Volkswagen's system is much the same, though they're working with the city of Wolfsburg (notable as Volkswagen has offered vehicles in a special "Wolfsburg Edition" trim in the past) and Siemens. They plan to make their entire fleet of new vehicles compatible with the system by 2019. However, Volkswagen wants to up the ante and have the system serve double duty as a traffic mitigation tool. By connecting vehicles to traffic signals, signals can more accurately adjust their timing and can even help cars catch a "green wave" of lights - reducing emissions, travel times, and stop and go traffic.
While most drivers do exercise caution and check for hazards, it's easy to get distracted or complacent, and unfortunately it's usually the pedestrian or cyclist that loses. Honda's and Volkswagen's systems will be a big help to remind drivers of actual dangers, and will hopefully return the result of safer roadways.
This article was based on an October 5, 2018 Roadshow by CNET article by Andrew Krok.