Honda announced a technology breakthrough today capable of detecting the potential for traffic congestion by actively determining whether the driving pattern of a vehicle is likely to create bottle-necking.
Unlike GPS systems that actively reroute drivers to avoid roads suffering from heavy traffic, Honda’s system passively reacts to congestion situations, monitoring the acceleration and deceleration patterns from the driver to determine whether the car will negatively impact traffic flow. Based on its decision, the system can then guide drivers with the appropriate information for optimal throttle control from devices including on-board color-coded displays.
Working with University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Honda carried a series of experiments in order to refine its traffic congestion monitoring system. Ultimately, the tests resulted in significant gains in congestion simulation, improving the average speeds of leading vehicles to improve by 23 percent with trailing vehicles also benefiting from an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy.
Honda didn’t end testing there. By applying Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and combining the system with on-board terminals to cloud servers, Honda experimented with a network of communicating vehicles that can synchronize driving patterns in a wider scale. According to Honda, this resulted in a further 16 percent increase in the average speed of trailing vehicles and an additional 5 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the results recorded when not using ACC and cloud technology.
Rather than focusing on hybrids and alternative energy as the only solution to emissions reduction, Honda found that solutions to driving behavior can curb traffic congestion and minimize its tendency to cause a higher potential of rear-end collisions, delay arrival times, and increase CO2 emissions.
Honda intends to introduce its technology into the market soon but will first conduct real-world testing in Italy and Indonesia during May and July.