Less than a week ago, Honda Motor Co Ltd made a handful of patent filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There were 10 filings, to be exact, ranging from a detecting sensor to a parking control device to passenger restraints. There were two that stood out – the first is called ‘pedestrian intersection alert system’.
Admittedly, the title for this story is exaggerated as Honda will not turn you into a superhero. The concept that Honda has filed is really an augmented reality system which uses sensors to detect pedestrians who are out of the driver’s field of vision (e.g. blocked by parked vehicles) and displays them on a head-up display (HUD) on the windscreen. This will help the driver anticipate pedestrian movement as he/she approaches them. In a way, not running down a pedestrian who isn’t paying attention when crossing the street makes you a hero.
This detection system is suppose to activate as the car approaches an intersection and the system will show the pedestrians’ locations on the HUD as avatars; which is better use for HUDs as they currently only show driving data and navigation, at most.
This system can also show a bird’s eye view of the car’s location and the pedestrians nearby. In a crowded area, the system is said to be able to filter and show only pedestrians within a predetermined distance from the vehicle so that your HUD is not full of avatars.
Honda says this system can work in a line of 3 cars when your field of vision is limited, especially in city driving, as long as these 3 cars have a ‘vehicle-to-vehicle communication system’ (also one of the filings Honda made). The lead car can communicate with the 2 cars behind it on speed and obstacles. This system will allow the cars to calculate the distance between them and activate whatever sort of driving safety or warning system that aids in decreasing the risk of collision.
Companies make patent filings all the time and not all make it to reality; Honda filed a patent in 2013 for a pedestrian detection system and it’s still in development (this particular system requires pedestrians to install an app in the smart device). But a system that helps reduce accidents and increase safety is always welcomed.