GM: New smartphone app could warn pedestrians

July 30, 2012 12:00 AM

General Motors is working on a new smartphone app that could alert pedestrians of danger from oncoming traffic, according to Autoblog.

The American automaker says it has a team working on a new app that would take advantage of Wi-Fi Direct, a relatively new system of communication similar to Bluetooth. Essentially, the idea behind Wi-Fi Direct is allowing two wireless-enabled devices to connect to each other directly, rather than going to a nearby cell phone tower. This results in a responsiveness improvement of several seconds - enough to warn a pedestrian they may be hit by a car.

GM believes it will be able to adapt Wi-Fi Direct so it works with the sensors that are now becoming commonplace on many modern vehicles. A pedestrian who has the app will be alerted whenever a car entered a certain range - hopefully quickly enough that they can get themselves out of danger. The goal is to eliminate the kind of vehicle-pedestrian accidents where the walker absent-mindedly walks into the street, head buried in their phone.

Drivers also have a responsibility to stay safe on the road, and vehicle maintenance can play a big role in avoiding danger. Brake service and routinely investing in new tires can help drivers ensure their car stops on a dime.

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