It is often difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, especially at night, in foggy conditions or during a heavy rainstorm.
Fortunately, General Motors is working on a wireless pedestrian detection technology to help alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians in close proximity - even in poor weather conditions or dimly lit areas.
The system is built around Wi-Fi Direct, which can best be described as a peer-to-peer wireless standard that allows smartphones and other devices to communicate directly without linking to an access point or mobile network.
As such, Wi-Fi Direct is perfect for vehicle-to-vehicle communications because forming a connection takes approximately one second, rather than the 7 required for devices to (initially) link on a secondary network.
"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 GM exec Nady Boules.
"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."
GM also plans to create an app for pedestrians who walk or ride bicycles along congested roads that will alert Wi-Fi Direct enabled vehicles to their location.
According to the auto manufacturer, Wi-Fi Direct can be integrated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems that are already in place on production vehicles. The system is expected to boast a range of around 656 feet. By integrating Wi-Fi Direct, GM says drivers will be able to send audio files or directions to their vehicles from PCs, smartphones and tablets.
"Wi-Fi Direct’s fast connections offer a distinct advantage in vehicle application... The quicker a vehicle can detect other Wi-Fi Direct users, the greater the potential for collision avoidance," added Boules.