A representation of Honda's congestion prevention system.
Photo credit: Graphic courtest of Honda Motor Co.
I recall someone once told me: “Technology has the shelf life of a banana.”
That certainly is true in the field of automotive technology.
A recent development comes from the Honda Motor Co. of Japan. It announced the development of the world’s first technology to detect the potential for traffic congestion and determine whether the driving pattern of the vehicle is likely to create traffic jams.
Talk about putting technology to work. The acceleration and deceleration behavior of one vehicle influences the traffic pattern of trailing vehicles and can trigger the traffic congestion.
In conjunction with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, Honda conducted experimental on-road testing of a system utilizing the technology to detect the potential for traffic congestion.
The test results demonstrated that the system helped increase the average speed by approximately 23 percent and improved fuel efficiency by approximately 8 percent of trailing vehicles.
With less traffic congestion causes, there are fewer delays in arrival time, less CO2 emissions and a reduced potential for rear-end collisions.
Through the cloud
Rather than providing information to help the driver avoid existing congestion based on current traffic information, the Honda system monitors the acceleration and deceleration patterns of the vehicle to determine whether the driver’s driving pattern is likely to create traffic congestion.
Based on this determination, the system provides the driver with appropriate information, including a color-coded display through the on-board terminal, to encourage smooth driving which will help alleviate the intensity of acceleration and deceleration by trailing vehicles, thereby helping to prevent or minimize the occurrence of vehicle congestion.
Moreover, the positive effect on minimizing congestion and fuel efficiency improvement can be further increased by connecting the on-board terminals to “cloud” servers.
Cloud computing enables software and data required by services to be accessed via the Internet (or equivalent network) rather than from a local computer.
Connecting to the cloud makes the driver aware of, and in sync, with the driving patterns of vehicles ahead by activating the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system at the right time to maintain a constant distance between vehicles at the most appropriate interval.
Designed to enhance the driving experience by reducing the burdens on the driver, ACC monitors vehicle speed and inter-vehicle distance using a radar unit mounted on the vehicle’s front which scans the road for other vehicles.
The system calculates the distance from the vehicle directly in front and maintains the selected speed and distance (as designated by the driver) based on data supplied by the radar.
The testing demonstrated an additional 16 percent increase in the average speed of trailing vehicles and additional 5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the results of the experiment using the system without cloud and ACC.
What will automotive technologists come up with next?