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GM Developing Smartphone Safety Network

System could provide eyes and ears for unseen traffic hazards.

by on Oct.18, 2011

A network of smartphones and other devices could alert motorists to unseen obstacles.

The latest smartphones can do just about everything but cook breakfast – though they can help track down the recipe for a mean Eggs Benedict.  Now, General Motors is looking at ways to link smartphones to alert your car to unseen pedestrians and other obstacles.

In effect, a network of smartphones – paired with fixed cameras and other roadside sensors – could create a wireless safety net, the maker suggests.  Dubbed vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, such systems could help avert nearly 81 percent of all U.S. vehicle crashes, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Such technology could be in place within a decade, adds the automaker – which recently showed off a vehicle that might be able to integrate the technology, the second-generation Chevrolet EN-V.

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“These safety systems could provide a significant leap in automotive safety, but their effectiveness goes up dramatically as more people use them,” said Don Grimm, senior researcher for GM’s Perception and Vehicle Control Systems group. “By putting the technology into portable devices, we could make this potentially life-saving technology widely available and more affordable.”