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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mazda ASV-4 Advanced Safety Vehicle On Public Road Trials

We won't have flying cars any time soon, but Mazda is working to take us closer to the science-fiction "roads of tomorrow" nonetheless as on-road trials of its unassuming ASV-4 safety car begin in and around Hiroshima. It may not look like much, but the ASV-4 is a highly advanced bundle of technology. The Advanced Safety Vehicle (ASV) project is developing vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology that will allow a car to be aware of other cars in low-visibility situations. With a car that's able to warn the driver of other vehicles he or she might not see, the ASV-4 can help eliminate two-vehicle collisions.

Mazda plans to start testing the ASV-4 on public roads in Hiroshima this year. Sensors along the road can "talk" to the ASV-4 and inform the car of potential danger ahead. Mazda's trial is intended to explore the real-world feasibility of road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

Mazda has not announced any plans beyond the public-road testing, but it's not a long step from a radar-based pre-collision system similar to those found in many luxury cars to a vehicle that can take over in an emergency and swerve away from an unexpected vehicle। The day when our cars can take action to avoid one another even when the driver isn't paying attention may be closer than you think.

Press Release

Mazda to Begin Public Road Trials of the Mazda ASV-4 Advanced Safety Vehicle
HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation will commence public road trials of its advanced safety vehicle, Mazda ASV-4, in the Hiroshima area on March 11, 2008. The trials are based on the Advanced Safety Vehicle (ASV) Promotion Plan that was introduced by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation (MLIT) to promote the development, practical application and wider use of ASV technologies aimed at reducing the number of traffic accidents. During the ASV Project’s Phase Four trials, Mazda will forge ahead with development of a safe driving support system that employs vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

In collaboration with other ASV project members in the Hiroshima area*1, Mazda will collect and analyze data to promote development of a safe driving support system. The system deploys safety technologies which utilize vehicle-to-vehicle communications to alert drivers of oncoming vehicles at blind intersections or on twisting roads with limited visibility. By reducing driver oversight or error, the system aims to mitigate two vehicle collisions at blind intersections, rear-end collisions and accidents when a vehicle performs right turns. Mazda plans to begin testing the two vehicle blind collision avoidance system in fiscal year 2007. Road trials of the right-turn and rear-end collision avoidance systems are set to commence in fiscal 2008.

The ASV project has been promoting the spread of safe driving to reduce traffic accidents through advanced technologies for over fifteen years since its inception by the MLIT in 1991. Mazda’s test results from Phase One to Phase Three have already resulted in the successful development of various advanced safety technologies. These include: a rear vehicle monitoring system that detects vehicles approaching from behind at highway speeds; and Mazda’s Precrash Safety System, which uses milliwave radar to monitor for oncoming obstacles, then alerts the driver and automatically applies the brakes if necessary. The Mazda ASV-4, part of the project’s fourth phase (2006 to 2010), will participate in the effort to promote the spread of ASV technologies and develop and implement a telecommunications-based safe driving support system to help reduce traffic accidents.

In January 2008, Mazda began trials to validate a new Intelligent Transport System (ITS)*2 as part of a consortium of local government, academia and industry in the Hiroshima area. The ITS consists of safe driving support technologies that link sensors installed along roadways to vehicles (road-to-vehicle communications) in order to detect potentially dangerous situations that the driver cannot see. By conducting the ASV public road trials in the same area as the ITS experiments, Mazda intends to evaluate the compatibility of the road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.

Mazda is dedicated to leveraging these road trial results, and its own research and development initiatives, to establish ITS and ASV technologies that can assist in reducing the number of traffic accidents and decrease the environmental burden caused by road traffic. Going forward, Mazda will continue to develop and evolve safety technologies that are helping to promote a sustainable transport environment for the future.

*1 Mitsubishi Motors Japan and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.
*2 A new traffic system that uses advanced telecommunications technology to create an information network between people, vehicles and the road infrastructure in order to solve transportation problems such as road accidents, traffic jams and damage to the environment.

Source: Mazda


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