First V2Pedestrian Alert App Claimed

An app developer is claiming to have developed the first vehicle-to-pedestrian smartphone alert in a bid to cut 65% of the world’s collision fatalities.

A start-up from Berkeley, California, says its was inspired by a French automotive study suggesting that pedestrian deaths occur in 20 common scenarios. These can be categorized into four groups: driver responsibility (35%), visual blockage (28%), unpredictable pedestrian behavior (26%), and weather conditions (11%).

It points out that while existing sensors on a few very high-end vehicles, such as cameras, radars, sonars and LiDARS, can mitigate the first category’s risks, that leaves 65% of the scenarios unaddressed.

Now the company !important claims its app can function like a digital safety belt, communicating the user’s location to nearby connected vehicles. It claims to immediately alert drivers and even trigger their vehicles’ brakes automatically to prevent a collision with an approaching person, cyclist or motorcyclist.

Naturally, the success of the app depends both on the number of connected vehicles in any particular area and the faith of its users that being ‘tracked’ by third party vehicle recognition does not compromise their personal or data privacy. The !important app is currently available for free on the iPhone and Android App stores.

Tara Andringa, executive director of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), said: “A key issue is how we will ensure pedestrian safety in an automated vehicle (AV) world. !important is tackling this problem of pedestrian safety and their mobile app seeks to enhance road safety by improving communication between pedestrians and other road users.”

In early 2021, the technology will be implemented in vehicles on the roads of Reno, Nevada (USA) as part of the Intelligent Mobility (IM) initiative in collaboration with the Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR) at the University of Nevada in Reno.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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