While there are already some technological solutions like apps that can help drivers avoid traffic jams, one solution is taking assisted driving to a whole new level.
Autotalks, an Israeli company founded by Nir Sasson and Onn Haran, has been working on a chip to be installed in cars that transmits electronic messages every second, which include the car’s position, direction, and warning messages. Other cars in the area that also have the chip would receive and emit messages as well. All these messages can then be analyzed to evaluate the chances of accidents, traffic jams etc, according to Sasson. The warning messages can be shown via audio and visual means to the drivers (in the navigation screen for example.) If a system is installed at a crossroads it could also provide information about the traffic lights and pedestrians crossing.
Other solutions exist but they sometimes provide minimal time to react – sensors installed on the exterior of the car can tell the driver when to break only when he’s a few seconds away from crashing- a distance which most of the time is enough to reduce the impact of the crash but not to prevent it. Moreover, Autotalks can help drivers to be more aware of the road in tricky areas with many curves, slopes or bad weather, as it does not use visual sensors that can be limited.
“If our chip is installed at a traffic light at a junction, drivers can get a warning about something which is over the corner, something they couldn’t see beforehand because of limited field of view,” Haran told website The Marker. “We are not in competition with optic or radar-based systems. These systems are complementary systems and at the end every car will have different kinds of systems installed. Every system will reduce the chance of an accident.”
Besides the chips in cars, Autotalks’ chips are suited for road infrastructures such as junctions and traffic lights. While governments might be slow to adopt it because of cost, Autotalks says the long-term financial benefits are worth it because of the high rate of car accidents around the world. There’s no need to net all the junctions, only the problematic ones.
“Our chips work in a certain standard. Nowadays most of the communication standards are maturing. It started in Japan, when their government decided to integrate a smart road infrastructure back in 2006, and that’s why Japan will be the first country with that infrastructure. We’re the only foreign company that works with the Japanese standard, along with other Japanese companies,” Sasson added.
The prototype for Autotalk’s chip is ready but the entry to the Japanese and American markets won’t be easy. Haran explained that “the car manufacturers are conservative; introducing new technologies intended for cars can take a few years.” The American government decided to implement new regulations for new cars and to force drivers to install alert systems. “We have a window of opportunity until 2015 to be aggressive and get in the field of mandatory alert systems. I believe that in 2014 we’ll see cars with our chips,” Haran added.
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