Wireless pedestrian detection technology by GM

Written by Russell Co. Posted in News, Smartphones, Software and Apps

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Published on July 31, 2012 with No Comments

Pedestrians and drivers have always had an uneasy co-existence, each one thinking the other is a pest. This doesn’t always have to be the case as General Motors is trying to prove. GM researchers are currently developing a potentially life-saving feature that helps drivers detect pedestrians and bicyclists in low visibility conditions.

With the wide availability of Wi-Fi enabled devices, the feature makes use of Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer wireless standard that instead of connecting devices, such as smartphones, through a shared access point, allows direct communication between connected devices.

Researchers at GM have found that Wi-Fi Direct can work in conjunction with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems that are already available on production vehicles to help detect pedestrians and bicyclists carrying smartphones equipped with Wi-Fi Direct. To accompany this technology, GM also plans to develop an app for people using Wi-Fi Direct-capable smartphones to help Wi-Fi Direct vehicles identify them to prevent accidents.

“This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car’s blind spot,” said Nady Boules, GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab. “Wi-Fi Direct has the potential to become an integral part of the comprehensive driver assistance systems we offer on many of our Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles.”

As Wi-Fi Direct connects devices directly with each other, eliminating the need to reach a cell phone tower, this lessens the time needed for devices to connect to approximately one second compared to seven to eight in conventional systems. This wireless pedestrian detection system is a part of GM’s development efforts for vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems for advanced warnings about hazards and other situations on the road.

Wi-Fi Direct can also be used to enable secure transfers of files such as music or digital address book information between a home computer and the vehicle navigation system.

Source: GM