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Honda Motor Co Ltd will start to test a driving support system using traffic signal information on public roads in April 2014.

The system will be tested as part of the "UTMS (Universal Traffic Management System)," a new traffic management system for which Honda has paricipated in a development project, and carried out in Utsunomiya City in collaboration with Tochigi Police and the UTMS Society of Japan. The company will test the functions and effects of the entire system on the roads in the aim of commercializing it.

The system is aimed at enabling vehicles to go through intersections smoothly by using (1) traffic signal information from optical beacons set up on the roadside and (2) information on the position and speed of the user's vehicle. When the vehicle will be able to go through an intersection ahead on a green light, a recommended vehicle speed is shown on the display of the vehicle. If the driver keeps the speed, the vehicle can pass through the intersection without making a stop.

When the vehicle will not be able to go through an intersection ahead due to a red light, a sign is shown on the display to recommend the driver to release the gas pedal. Moreover, when the vehicle is idling at a red light, the remaining time before it turns to a green light is displayed so that the driver will not be late in acceleration.

With those measures, it is possible to reduce acceleration and deceleration at the time of passing through intersections, preventing car accidents at intersections and improving fuel efficiency.

The field test will be performed on five routes near Utsunomiya City with about 100 vehicles equipped with the in-vehicle unit of the system including commuter cars of Honda's employees. Honda will examine (1) changes of vehicle behaviors such as sudden deceleration and acceleration, (2) reduction of CO2 emissions, (3) improvement of fuel efficiency and (4) influence on traffic streams for about a year starting from April 2014.