Rabu, 03 April 2013

Using smartphones to prevent traffic jams

Paul Leroux
Smartphones and driving don’t mix, right? Normally, you would get no argument from me. Driving is the one activity where a half-second lapse in attention can translate into a lifetime of regret.

But you know, there’s more than one way to use a smartphone in a car. Take Honda, for example. They’ve been experimenting with an approach that may help prevent accidents, rather than cause them.

Let’s rewind a bit. A few months ago, I wrote a post on the potential benefits of adaptive cruise control. These benefits include a dramatic reduction of traffic congestion and safer distances between cars.

Well, guess what: it seems that a smartphone app can have much the same effect. Recently, Honda equipped a number of drivers with an app that monitors acceleration and deceleration. When a subject drives in a way that avoids causing a traffic jam, the app screen turns green; otherwise, it shows blue.

Simple enough, right? And yet, the results were dramatic: formation of traffic jams was delayed by up 6 minutes and fuel efficiency shot up by 22%. Not bad for a smartphone app.

I am, of course, skipping a few details. Read more about the study in Tech-On!, an outlet of Nikkei Business Publications.

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