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GM developing Wi-Fi Direct driver assistance systems for wireless pedestrian and bicyclist detection

General Motors researchers are developing a driver assistance feature potentially capable of detecting pedestrians and bicyclists on congested streets or in poor-visibility conditions. The feature relies on Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless standard that can allow mobile devices such as smartphones to communicate directly with each other rather than through a shared access point such as a cell phone tower.

GM researchers have determined Wi-Fi Direct can be integrated with other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available on production vehicles to help detect pedestrians and bicyclists carrying smartphones also equipped with Wi-Fi Direct. GM is looking to develop a complementary app for Wi-Fi Direct-capable smartphones that can be downloaded by frequent road users such as “bike messenger” or “construction worker” that will help Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicles identify them.

Wireless pedestrian detection is part of GM’s ongoing development of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems that could provide advance warning about hazards such as slowed or stalled vehicles, slippery roads or intersections and stop signs.

This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car’s blind spot. Wi-Fi Direct has the potential to become an integral part of the comprehensive driver assistance systems we offer on many of our Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicles.

—Nady Boules, GM Global R&D director of the Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab

By eliminating the intermediate step required to reach a cell phone tower, Wi-Fi Direct allows devices to connect in approximately one second compared to conventional wireless systems that typically need seven or eight seconds to acquire location information and connect.

Wi-Fi Direct’s fast connections offer a distinct advantage in vehicle applications. The quicker a vehicle can detect other Wi-Fi Direct users, the greater the potential for collision avoidance.

—Donald Grimm, GM Global R&D senior researcher of perception and vehicle control systems

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,280 pedestrians and 618 bicyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles in 2010. Both totals were down by as much as 25% since 1995, consistent with overall traffic fatalities. GM’s potential use of Wi-Fi Direct is one way the automaker is working to help further reduce the number of traffic fatalities.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the global industry association in charge of certifying wireless standards, says that Wi-Fi Direct supports typical Wi-Fi speeds, which can be as high as 250 Mbps. Wi-Fi Direct devices work just like any Wi-Fi device, with ranges up to 200 meters (656 feet). In addition to aiding pedestrian detection, this range could enable secure transfers of files such as MP3s or digital address book information between a home computer and the user’s Wi-Fi Direct-equipped vehicle infotainment or navigation system.

Wi-Fi Direct basics. The Wi-Fi Alliance introduced Wi-Fi Direct in 2010. A Wi-Fi Direct device is capable of a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection, and can support either a legacy infrastructure or a P2P connection. Wi-Fi Direct devices have the ability to join infrastructure networks as typical stations (STAs), and must support Wi-Fi Protected Setup enrollee functionality.

Wi-Fi Direct devices connect by forming Groups (in a one-to-one or one-to-many topology) that function in a manner similar to an infrastructure BSS (basic service set). A single Wi-Fi Direct device is in charge of the Group, including controlling which devices are allowed to join and when the Group is started and terminated. This device will appear as an access point (AP) to legacy Clients, and provides some of the services commonly provided by an infrastructure AP.

Because Wi-Fi Direct devices do not duplicate the full functionality of infrastructure APs, traditional APs will continue to be the best choice for meeting the needs of stationary, multipurpose networks in homes, hotspots and enterprises.



Wireless pedestrian and cyclist detection?


Yet another waste of money by auto-tech researchers, this time GM. Why go to the trouble of electronically detecting pedestrians, when a major reason they can't be detected by humans is that the humans are driving too fast. GM and MIT engineers need to stop fooling around with fantasy gadgets and just make cars that can't go more than 25 in a 25 zone, or whatever the posted limit is. That can be done cheaply and reliably now and would save 10,000 lives a year, including many pedestrians.


No information what would be gateway locating cell phones:bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS or something else.


Sounds very risky.
It will work for cyclists who have the system, and increase the confidence of drivers who have it (who presumably will drive faster).

What about the cyclists who do not have it ?

You need a passive system which detects any cyclists/pedestrians, or none at all.

Maybe just leave it to the drivers to see the cyclists.
If they can't see, they shouldn't be driving.


every cyclist should be required to be chipped, or be fined.. its the only safe way to do it.


No need to require every cyclist to be chipped, or be fined.

Natural selection can be reintroduced and reinforced by modern technology.

Smokers, hamburger eaters, health care tax evaders etc will just be denied use of this system.

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