Honda claims to have invented a relatively simple system to help reduce traffic congestion: an in-car device that would warn the driver if he or she is driving in a manner that would likely cause traffic backups. The system will be tested this year and is eventually intended for production cars.
The Honda system essentially works by monitoring how frequently the driver accelerates and decelerates. Doing so too much might force following vehicles to brake or accelerate more often, which can create a “ripple effect” that causes more traffic congestion. To help reduce jams, Honda’s system will show the driver a color-coded indication of driving performance.
Unlike other systems that monitor overall traffic patterns or cars ahead, Honda’s technology determines whether the car will cause problems for following drivers. By encouraging people to drive more smoothly, Honda says its system has been proven to increase the average speed of traffic by 23 percent and reduce fuel consumption by eight percent. Moreover, it could prevent rear-end crashes caused by vehicles frequently stopping and starting on crowded roads.
Honda plans to test the technology on public roads in Italy in May, and in Indonesia in July, and plans to commercialize the system if it’s successful. The company proudly asserts that this helps it work toward, “the establishment of a congestion-free mobility society all around the world.”
The next step for this technology is linking each car to the cloud. Honda says that by allowing cars to “talk” to each other on congested roads, the cars could automatically adjust the adaptive cruise control to promote better traffic flow. This upgrade reportedly improves average speeds by a further 16 percent and reduces fuel consumptions another five percent, because the cars can maintain more constant distances between one another without bunching.