The Nissan/NEC joint venture into lithium ion battery territory is not the only green car news from the Japanese automaker this week. Forward-thinkers at Nissan are moving along in the testing of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) we told you about in March. As you might recall, the ITS is designed to, among other things, reduce congestion and accidents and thereby limiting the amount of CO2 in the air.
On that second point, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd announced yesterday that the latest tests use 3G cellular communications (and GPS) are underway. These tests are to let the ITS system - and therefore cars equipped with ITS receivers know where - pedestrians are, and the net result is, hopefully, a reduction in accidents.
It works like this. You're walking down the street with your cell phone in your pocket. It's happily sending your exact GPS coordinates to a little box in the neighborhood. Uncle Joey in his Nissan gets a little blip on his ITS screen alerting him to your presence and now he doesn't hit you. Instead, lulled into a false sense of security, he nails grandpa who's refused all these years to get a newfangled cordless telegraph.
Why does this system seem less than practical?
Nissan says it is studying the types of pedestrian data that are "most relevant to help prevent accidents. The research will investigate a variety of factors influencing the pedestrian-vehicle's relative positions, such as the directions in which pedestrians and the vehicle are moving, and the corresponding speeds and distances between them. Various driver alerts, such as visual warnings or audible alarms, are also under study."
I get that Nissan's Green Program 2010 is attempting to make traversing roads as easy and safe as possible by keeping cars moving smoothly. But I think it makes more sense to focus on car-to-car and car-to-traffic-system communications, not cell phones. I don't want to have to keep a cell phone in my pocket to go for a walk and be safe.
NISSAN TO TEST INTELLIGENT TRANSPORT SYSTEM USING CELL PHONES
Advanced ITS using cellular communications aimed at helping to reduce pedestrian accidents
TOKYO (April 17, 2007) – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd announced today that it is developing an advanced Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) employing cellular communications to help reduce accidents involving pedestrians. Nissan is also conducting research on pedestrian-related communication involving the transmitting of pedestrian position data to vehicles via the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Nissan's advanced ITS will employ the next 3G cellular communications system*1, launched from this April, where the GPS function is used as the basis to provide location information of the cellular phone. In this system, location data transmitted from the pedestrian's cellular phone and vehicle is fed to the ITS to allow the system to determine the corresponding positions between the pedestrian and the vehicle. A pedestrian alert will appear onboard the vehicle to warn the driver, helping to reduce road accidents particularly in a blind-spot situation.
This advanced ITS research consists of the following process:
1) Via cellular packet communications*2, the system collects probe data*3 from the vehicle and position data from pedestrians. The received data is then computed to determine the corresponding location of the vehicle relative to the pedestrians on the road.
2) The ITS detects pedestrians ahead of the vehicle, and send a warning alert to the driver at the event of a potential conflict.
Nissan is studying what types of pedestrian data are most relevant to help prevent accidents. The research will investigate a variety of factors influencing the pedestrian-vehicle's relative positions, such as the directions in which pedestrians and the vehicle are moving, and the corresponding speeds and distances between them. Various driver alerts, such as visual warnings or audible alarms, are also under study.
Nissan is studying and developing the ITS with technical collaboration from NTT DoCoMo Inc. on cellular communications technology.
This current research aims to join and contribute to the ITS project, which is a Nissan experimental programme conducted in Kanagawa Prefecture that begun in October 2006. The program is aimed at efforts to help reduce traffic accidents and congestion utilising real-time driving-data collected from the vehicles. The ITS project allows Nissan to test various technology concepts and develop the most suitable technology solution for wide-scale application.
*1: Digital cellular phones that meet the International Telecommunication Union's MT-2000 specification, allowing high-speed data transfers and delivery of high-volume multi-media information, including sound, images and video. The world's first 3G service, employing the W-CDMA system, was FOMA by NTT DoCoMo, which became available in October 2001. FOMA is a registered trademark of NTT DoCoMo Inc.
*2:A method of data transfer where the data to be sent and received are divided into packets of a specific size, allowing a singular line to be shared among many users and increasing efficiency in telecommunications.
*3:Data about a specific operating vehicle, such as position and speed, received via wireless communication.
*4:The advanced road traffic system which aims to help reduce traffic accidents by using information obtained from nearby vehicles and roadside optical beacons to alert drivers to potential danger from approaching vehicles. Probe data is also utilised to ease traffic congestion, which will contribute to CO2 reduction, a major objective in the Nissan Green Program 2010.