Could £75 gadget revolutionise road safety?

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A £75 piece of in-car tech could revolutionise road safety by allowing cars to talk to each other and warn drivers there is a hazard ahead, claims Hyundai.

More than 1.35 million people die each year in traffic accidents, with between 20 and 50 million suffering non-fatal injuries.

To tackle the issues, connected vehicle experts at Autotalks has developed a chip which broadcasts a car’s location, direction and speed up to ten times per second. All other ‘connected cars’ in the surrounding area receive messages – and each vehicle can then estimate the risk imposed by the transmitting vehicle.

If there is a potential hazard, such as a motorcyclist not slowing down for a junction, a warning will show up on the car’s infotainment screen. Eventually, instead of just providing drivers with a warning, fully autonomous cars will take direct action to prevent a crash.

The technology is known as ‘vehicle to everything’ (V2X) and allows the car to talk to other vehicles along with infrastructure such as traffic lights and, eventually, mobile phones to help prevent pedestrians being involved in collisions. 

Autotalks’ V2X system, which could cost as little as $100 (£75) to be installed on a new car, is being highlighted by Hyundai, whose Tel Aviv-based CRADLE team has invested in the company.

It follows research by Hyundai which revealed 15 per cent of British motorists have had a near-miss in the past month after becoming distracted at the wheel. 

The survey of 2,000 motorists also found that over the past month 25 per cent of drivers have had a near-miss with a pedestrian who walked into the road without paying attention.

More than one in eight (13 per cent) said they have nearly been involved in a crash with a motorcyclist over the past month.

And 22 per cent of those surveyed by OnePoll for Hyundai admitted they have had a car crash that could have been prevented if they were paying more attention.

Yaniv Sulkes, VP Business Development and Marketing at Autotalks, said: “In the USA and other parts of the world, if you’re healthy, then the thing that is most likely to kill you is a car. If you’re a motorcyclist the chances are even higher.

“People don’t like the statistics but every day around 3,700 people lose their lives in crashes. This is an epidemic and we need to think of ways to address it.

It is anticipated the first wave of Autotalks chipsets will be fitted in cars from 2021 Autotalks is one of a number of Israel-based start-up companies which Hyundai CRADLE is investing in as part of a strategic partnership.

Changhan Lee, Coordinator of Hyundai Motor Company’s CRADLE office in Tel Aviv, said: “Safety is one of the most important factors that consumers consider when they are buying a car.

“There will always be human error, whether drivers are distracted, or pedestrians aren’t paying attention and the consequences can be devastating.

“V2X technology improves road safety and Autotalks is one of a number of innovative Israeli start-ups Hyundai Cradle is collaborating with.” 

Chris Price
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