GM develops auto safety technology using your smartphone

GM develops auto safety technology using your smartphone image

Text: / Photos: | posted October 19, 2011 13:11

Another step towards safe and autonomous driving

General Motors have developed new tech that could warn drivers about certain dangers on the road ahead... all through your smartphone.

GM found a way to integrate (via an application) your mobile phone or other similar device into the car's safety systems. The portable device will then be constantly monitoring the surrounding areas for other similarly equipped cars, creating a wireless network of cars that can communicate with each other. Other mobile devices will then send out information such as stalled vehicles, hard-braking drivers, slippery roads, sharp curves and upcoming stop signs and intersections, warning other cars about the conditions ahead.

GM wireless technology

Instead of minimizing a collision once it occurs, as most safety systems do today, GM claims these new technologies could help prevent crashes altogether. This technology, known as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems could help avert nearly 81 percent of all U.S. vehicle crashes, according to a study by the NHTSA.

GM has been testing the technology in two mobile platforms: a transponder about the size of a GPS unit and a smartphone application that can be tied to the vehicle's display unit. The embedded system, portable transponder and smartphone technologies all use Dedicated Short-Range Communications, or DSRC, to transfer data between devices and have a communication range of about 400 meters in all directions. The DSRC radio can send and receive messages with other vehicles in the area, as well as communicate with fixed radios connected to traffic signals or construction zones.

GM is working on embedding these communications systems into new vehicles. GM researchers are also working to find ways to retrofit automobiles already on the road.

The concept itself of a wireless network is not new, as the U.S. military have been using technology called the Inter-Vehicle Information System (IVIS) on their tanks and other hardware that allow the vehicles to "talk" to each other about their particular situation on the battlefield.

The system GM is developing is part of their "building blocks for autonomous driving". The company says the by the end of the decade, cars will be getting sophisticated self-driving systems.

"The technologies we're developing will provide an added convenience by partially or even completely taking over the driving duties," Taub said. "The primary goal, though, is safety. Future generation safety systems will eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they're even aware of a hazardous situation."