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For as long as cars have existed, there have been systems and devices in place to prevent people from running into pedestrians. A vigilant driver is always good for prevention, but add on top of that a wireless pedestrian detection system and hopefully more accidents can be prevented.

General Motors (GM) in the US is putting together some new WiFi technology into their detection system and are currently in midst of testing it.

The way this detection system works is by using WiFi Direct, which is a relatively new technology. WiFi Direct allows for devices such as smartphones to interact with each other directly without the use of a shared access point, such as a telecommunications tower.

GM researchers have come up with a genius idea of pairing up the WiFi Direct With a proximity sensor and other existing driver alert systems to help drivers detect cyclists and pedestrians who have phones equipped with WiFi Direct.

Watch a video demonstration by GM.

The beauty of the system is that without any intermediaries, detection is sped up to one second, compared to the usualy seven or eight seconds needed if a communications tower was needed. This means that pedestrians stepping out from behind their cars could easily be detected.

This is a great idea, if it could be integrated to any car with a proximity detector/driver alert system. Pedestrians have caught me off guard a few times, appearing suddenly and unexpectedly from behind a car. I’m definitely looking forward to see how this technology will develop.