Autonomous Emergency Brake is a pedestrian-detection system that will haul the car to a stop in an emergency, similar to Volvo’s City Safety. The Honda system combines both a camera mounted in the windshield and a millimeter-wave radar unit that scans for objects ahead. This allows for emergency braking at speeds of up to 37 mph, as the radar scans for objects ahead while the camera verifies the object’s shape using a pedestrian-detection scheme. We drove a car fitted with the tech, with a cardboard cutout acting as both a standing and moving pedestrian, and it worked, although the sensation of the car stopping on its own is eerie, even uncomfortable.
The same camera and radar system is used for Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, which addresses one of the current problems with adaptive-cruise systems. Presently, when a car cuts you off, most adaptive-cruise systems abruptly slows down to establish a safe distance ahead. Honda’s system tracks up to six cars ahead and uses an advanced logic system to predict the motions of the drivers around the car. If there’s a car in the right lane closing in on a slow truck, for instance, Intelligent ACC sees both the truck and car and figures out that the car might change lanes soon (it also looks at lateral movement within the lane), and preemptively slows down to give the car space keeps things smooth inside the cabin.
Have you seen a red light ahead on the road and, knowing that it will soon turn green, attempt to time it so you don’t have to slow down? Green Wave essentially is a coach that helps you do that like a pre-cognitive genius. In Japan, tens of thousands of traffic lights are equipped with beacons that broadcast their current state, while next-generation beacons that Green Wave will rely on also send out the light’s timing. A receiver in the car picks up this data and broadcasts the wait until the light will turn green using a counting-down set of horizontal bars. When driving, Green Wave recommends the appropriate speed to make the green light at the next intersection, or if you’re not going to make the light it tells the driver when to lift off the gas. The result of all this is not just smoother driving, but fuel savings as less energy is wasted using the brakes. In terms of fuel-saving technology, Green Wave make a lot of sense by coaching the driver to save gas. Unfortunately, we probably won’t ever see such a system Stateside.