Honda Motor Co Ltd confirmed that it is possible to delay the occurrence of a traffic jam and improve fuel efficiency by 20% or more by driving a vehicle while following instructions given by a smartphone application.
Honda announced March 21, 2013, that the company tested its traffic jam prevention technology on a public road in Jakarta, Indonesia, and confirmed its effects. In the test, it delayed the occurrence of a traffic jam by up to six minutes and improved fuel efficiency by 20-22%.
The new technology instructs drivers to drive their vehicles in sync with one another to prevent traffic jams and improve fuel efficiency. The chance of the occurrence of a traffic jam can be reduce by keeping an appropriate inter-vehicle distance, according to a research conducted by Katsuhiro Nishinari, professor at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo.
When drivers are driving their vehicles in sync with one another, they can keep an appropriate inter-vehicle distance. And, as a result, it contributes to preventing traffic accidents.
The test was conducted from September 2012 to February 2013 on a toll road between Ulujami and Pondok Ranji in Jakarta. Test vehicles equipped with a smartphone having the application ran on the road. The application monitors the patterns of the acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle and determines whether it is running in a way that causes a traffic jam.
When the vehicle is running is a way that does not cause a traffic jam, the application shows a green screen. Otherwise, it shows a blue screen. The only thing that the driver has to do is to drive the vehicle in sync with other vehicles by paying attention to the color of the screen.
This time, Honda tested the application with two methods. In one method, smartphones mounted in vehicles did not work in conjunction with one another (stand-alone system). In the other method, the smartphones were connected to a cloud server that monitors the driving patterns of the vehicles (interactive system).
As a result, the stand-alone system delayed the occurrence of a traffic jam by up to six minutes (three minutes on average) and improved fuel efficiency by 20%. And the interactive system delayed the occurrence of a traffic jam by up to six minutes (four minutes on average) and improved fuel efficiency by 22%.
After checking the traffic volume and traffic jam status on the road Feb 12, 2013, Honda tested vehicles equipped with the new system on the same road on the following day and checked the traffic volume and traffic jam status again.
Without the system, when the traffic volume exceeded 200 vehicles per three minutes, the average speed of vehicles rapidly decreased, causing a traffic jam. However, with the system, even when the traffic volume exceeded 200 vehicles per three minutes, the average speed of vehicles increased after a while.