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11 May 2012

Honda develops tech that helps prevent traffic jams

Words by Hans Gerald Chua
Ever wished you could drive around the streets of Metro Manila, especially on EDSA, without encountering a traffic jam even on weekday rush hours? Study shows that traffic jams occur when one inattentive driver suddenly hits the brakes - creating a chain reaction that leads to a complete traffic stoppage for a few dozen cars behind. Well, it seems like Honda has already successfully developed a system that could solve all that. 
With help from the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Honda Motor Co. Ltd developed the world first's technology that could detect the potential for traffic congestion. It also monitors the vehicle's acceleration and deceleration behavior to determine whether the driver's driving pattern could cause traffic.
Similar to the Eco Assist System found in the all-new Civic and CR-V, Honda's new system has a color-coded display that guides the driver whether to accelerate or decelerate, thus encouraging smoother driving habits. The difference is, cars on the road need to be synced to each other through cloud servers. This way, the driving patterns of the vehicle ahead is shared to the one behind, maintaining the precise amount of distance with the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
After a series of tests in the lab, it showed that the invention was indeed able to increase the vehicle's average speed by 23% and improve fuel efficiency by as much as 8%. And after those promising results, Honda is set to begin its first series of runs on the public roads of Italy and Indonesia between May and June of this year to verify its effectiveness in real world conditions.
If Honda's new system is installed on every car, surely, it will not only help reduce traffic jams, but also minimize CO2 emissions, improve fuel efficiency, and possibly, prevent rear-end collisions. But could it really fix the horrendous traffic in the Philippines?