Japanese automaker Honda says it believes smartphones, long considered a distraction for drivers, could protect pedestrians from inattentive motorists.
Honda hopes to tap into pedestrians' phones to alert passing drivers to their presence, using the smartphone's GPS and dedicated short range communications to warn drivers if a pedestrian steps out from behind a parked car or other obstruction.
In the proposed system a light would flash on the car's dashboard to tell the driver of an approaching pedestrian, while the pedestrian would get an alert of the proximity of the car on their smartphone, Wired reported Wednesday.
U.S. automaker General Motors is using similar technology in its own pedestrian-detecting system.
Honda, taking the possibilities one step further, is also testing Vehicle-to-Motorcycle systems using the same communication capabilities to warn car drivers about a motorcycle outside their field of vision.
Honda and a number of other automakers are working with the University of Michigan through the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation on the technology.
Such systems could be available in the next several years, automakers say.