There is a driver assistance feature being developed by General Motors that could spot pedestrians and bicyclists on crowded streets or in poor visibility conditions before the driver detects them. This feature makes use of Wi-Fi Direct, the peer-to-peer wireless standard that enables devices such as some smartphones to directly communicate with each other instead of through a shared access point such as a cell phone tower. GM researchers have found out that Wi-Fi Direct can be incorporated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems that have already been offered on production vehicles to help spot pedestrians and bicyclists that carry smartphones featuring Wi-Fi Direct.
GM is also hoping to make a complementary app for Wi-Fi Direct-capable smartphones that may be downloaded by frequent road users like “bike messenger” or “construction worker” who will aid Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicles to recognize them. Wireless pedestrian detection is included in GM’s persistent development of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems that may offer advance warning for hazards like slowed or stalled vehicles, slippery roads or intersections and stop signs.
Nady Boules, GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab, said that this new wireless capability may warn drivers about pedestrians who could step into the street and appear from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are in the car’s blind spot. Wi-Fi Direct could potentially become an integral part of the comprehensive driver assistance systems that the company offers on plenty of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC models. By getting rid of the intermediate step needed to get to a cell phone tower, Wi-Fi Direct enables devices to connect in about one second compared to traditional wireless systems that usually requires seven or eight seconds to find the location information and connect.