Working with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, Honda Motor Company has developed a new driver-assist tool that it believes will be able to help prevent or minimize unnecessary traffic congestion on major highways. The Honda system monitors the acceleration and deceleration patterns of an individual vehicle and then uses an algorithm to determine the likely impact it will have on the overall traffic patterns of vehicles traveling behind it. Depending on what it finds, the system then uses a color-coded display to advise and encourage the driver to use smoother, better modulated throttle and brake applications that will help eliminate annoying and fuel-wasting "stop-n-go" situations while promoting optimized traffic flow.
Initial test results have shown the Honda system was able to increase average traffic speeds by up to 23 percent and while helping improve fuel efficiency of the trailing vehicles by approximately eight percent. In addition to its application on an individual vehicle, Honda also indicates the technology has the potential to be integrated on a vehicle-to-vehicle basis by connecting their individual on-board terminals via cloud-based servers and then using a car's adaptive cruise control system to make drivers aware of -- and keep them in sync with -- traffic patterns of vehicles ahead. The automaker says that this kind of networked application can bring about an additional 16 percent bump in average speeds and another five percent gain in efficiency. Honda plans to start on-road evaluations of its new anti-congestion system this month in Italy with additional testing scheduled for Indonesia in July.