Intersections are well-known to be dangerous, and up to 20 percent of crashes resulting in death happen at an intersection. Therefore, some automakers are determined to make intersections smarter by using cutting-edge technology to prevent some of these deaths.
Honda in Marysville, OH
Honda is working with Marysville, OH officials to create an intersection that builds upon their vehicle’s onboard sensors. They have started using proprietary software and vehicle-to-x (V2X) communication to give intersections the ability to save pedestrians and drivers both.
The traffic light at the intersection has four cameras, giving a birds-eye-view in any direction. Honda’s software focuses on object detections, so it can pick up images of pedestrians, vehicles, and emergency vehicles, as well as other moving objects. If an ambulance and cyclist are both approaching the intersection, the software can use short-range communications to alert other vehicles, including the ambulance.
The vehicle’s connectivity hardware receives these warnings and provides visual or audio alerts to the driver. Their pilot program uses head-up display features to show the warnings, but newer models are likely to integrate the displays on the dashboard. Along with such, Honda is working on ways to integrate the software into the dashboard so that it doesn’t take up space.
Volkswagen and Siemens and Wolfsburg
VW is also working on ways to create smart intersections. While their program primarily focuses on safety, it could have other benefits, as well.
They’ve teamed up with Siemens, their supplier, and the city of Wolfsburg, Germany for their program. The traffic signals (10 in the pilot program) communicate light phases to any connected vehicles, which lets them know when green waves are occurring. If timed correctly, green lights at successive intersections help a vehicle coast along without stopping, which can reduce traffic and improve efficiency.
However, Siemens and VW are also outfitting two intersections with sensors to help detect cyclists and pedestrians. This is primarily for safety and not convenience. Similar to the system Honda is developing, VW’s smart intersections detect cyclists or pedestrians and warn vehicles with a similar in-vehicle system.
Both systems are going to use the WLANp standard. They can communicate with vehicles within a 1,500-foot range. Volkswagen hopes that smart intersections are the future and that they can talk to vehicles very soon.