Honda begins pilot program syncing vehicles with traffic signal timing

March 31, 2014

Honda has announced plans to test a real-time driving system that takes information from traffic signals to ensure the steady flow of traffic.

The Universal Traffic Management System (UTMS) utilizes a network of infrared roadside beacons placed at intersections and synced with the timing of traffic signals. Communications from the beacons are taken into account by on-board devices that factor in the vehicle’s speed and direction.

When the system senses that a car has enough time to pass through the intersection, it will display the speed at which the driver must travel in order to make the green light. If, however, the system determines that the driver will have to stop at the intersection, it will notify them in advance so deceleration can commence far ahead of the red light. In addition, drivers will also be notified of how long the light will remain red.

Honda hopes that this system will reduce unnecessary acceleration and braking, thus saving fuel, improving traffic flow, and reducing accidents. The pilot program will take place in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan and will be conducted in a partnership with local police and the UTMS Society of Japan.

100 Honda vehicles will be outfitted with the technology. The automaker will monitor their fuel economy, CO2 emissions and impact on traffic patterns to make a determination on whether to commercialize the system. Testing begins in April 2014.

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