The following is an excerpt from Doug Newcomb | July 27, 2012 | Wired.com |
There are plenty of airbags and restraints to keep occupants of most modern cars safe from injury during an accident, and more automakers are deploying driver assistance technology to keep collisions from occurring in the first place – even with pedestrians and others outside the vehicle. Volvo’s pedestrian detection system keeps walkers from inadvertently becoming hood ornaments, and the Swedish brand that’s synonymous with safety has even unveiled a pedestrian airbag.
By developing a system that alerts drivers to the presence of pedestrians, cyclists, road construction workers and others who have a high chance of coming in contact with a moving vehicle, General Motors hopes to reduce the 4,280 pedestrians and 618 bicyclists deaths caused by collisions with motor vehicles in 2010, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM researchers are working on technology that will use the Wi-Fi Direct peer-to-peer wireless connection standard to allow smartphones and other connected devices to communicate with cars. Wi-Fi Direct would be integrated with existing driver-assistance systems that use sensor-based object detection to identify pedestrians and others carrying smartphones equipped with a Wi-Fi Direct app that the automaker is also developing.
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi Direct has an effective range of just over 200 yards, or roughly more than two football fields. And unlike the type of Wi-Fi you sponge off of at Starbucks, where each user connects to a central access point, Wi-Fi Direct is an ad-hoc network that allows device-to-device connection. “Seven to eight seconds is the amount of time it takes to connect to a Wi-Fi access point,” Donald Grimm, GM’s Global R&D senior researcher of perception and vehicle control systems, told Wired. And even more time if it has to authenticate the user by providing credentials. But with Wi-Fi Direct that time is reduced to….
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