Honda and Softbank are working together to try to reduce the number of accidents involving pedestrians and cars, as the Japanese carmaker tries to make good on its promise of a collision-free society. Honda has been developing its suite of ADAS to that end, but the carmaker is turning to the other half of the equation, pedestrians. This is being tested only in Hokkaido, Japan for now.
Honda and Softbank are trying to warn pedestrians through their phones with a system that uses 5G and other wireless standards. It’d be kind of like a text from a Honda car warning you that you’re about to be run over so please, for the love of God, get out of the way! It’d be even cooler if there were ringtones.
The system would also look for mobile phone signals in places where pedestrians may be blocked from view by, say, cars that are parked or other obstructions. The system would then exchange that information wirelessly to nearby vehicles warning them of pedestrians.
On top of that, the cars would also communicate with other cars when driving though areas with poor visibility where pedestrians might be harder to see, and would even relay that information to cars that lack the most up-to-date sensors, or “recognition functions.” That could mean even older cars without Honda “SENSING” tech could benefit from this.
The system would rely on cloud communication, presumably by leveraging Softbank’s telecom infrastructure, but the neat thing is that the Honda cars would also communicate directly with pedestrians’s phones.
Honda and Softbank have worked together before, like with their wannabe replicants, but this tech seems more practical. Smartphones command much of our attention these days, and an obnoxious emergency warning could jolt someone to pay attention — though you could argue it might also distract them.
Of course, the onus is on the driver and two-ton machine to not hit pedestrians in the first place, but a system that would warn the victim of a possible collision through their phone doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Honda claims that the tech is far enough along that’s in the “verification of technologies” stage.