Honda Shows Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

Honda's motorcycle-to-car communication system was demonstrated for the first time in Europe this past week at the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium at the Opel Test Track in Dudenhofen, Germany.

The system generates warnings to riders and drivers of other vehicles by continuous exchange of positioning data from satellite GPS sources. Honda believes the technology to be particularly relevant as road users approach intersections, alerting them to other vehicles that are potentially on a collision course and thus allowing avoidance maneuvers. The demonstration exhibited the interoperability of the Honda system with vehicles from eight other manufacturers.

The System
Honda has been researching Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication systems for more than a decade, both independently and in joint research projects in Japan and the United States.

V2V communication rapidly relays information in a simple and concise manner, which supports motorists' and bikers' recognition processes. Information including position, direction and vehicle dynamics coordinates is exchanged between vehicles.

Both a visual and an audible warning are provided in safety critical situations. Motorcycle riders can safely receive warnings about vehicles near them on a Heads-up Indicator Display – located on the upper edge of the motorcycle dashboard, as close as possible to the line of vision – and can receive information through an in-helmet audio system via a Bluetooth communication link. Drivers can view information on the status of cars and motorcycles in their vicinity and receive warnings on, for example, their navigation system display. The intensity of the audible warning, and color and position of the lights, provide intuitive information on the seriousness and the location of the danger.

In 1999, the European Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study (MAIDS) investigated the underlying causes of motorcycle accidents. Data was collected on 921 motorcycle accidents occurring in five European countries. It was found that 88% of the accidents were mainly caused by human error. In 37% of cases the motorcyclist was the cause of the accident, while in 50% of cases the driver of the other vehicle was responsible.

A breakdown of this 50% showed that 72% were so-called ‘perception' failures, where the driver failed to see the motorcycle, 3% were ‘comprehension' failures (they saw the motorcycle but the brain did not recognize it as such), and 20% were ‘decision' failures (they saw the motorcycle but decided to continue with the intended maneuver anyway). It is in these situations, Honda says, the V2V communication system may compensate for errors of perception or momentary lacks of concentration.

Honda says the development of inter vehicle communication is part of the company’s ongoing approach to safety for powered two-wheelers, which includes preventive, active and passive safety. Technologies in the field of preventive safety include the Motorcycle Riding Simulator and the Riding Trainer, both of which are used for hazard perception training; the introduction of the world's first motorcycle airbag; and this year's release of the first ever electronically controlled combined ABS for supersport bikes.