Honda unveils AI-powered safety technology

Honda Motor Co. via Jiji Press
A light situated above the steering wheel notifies the driver when pedestrians are outside of their field of vision.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Honda Motor Co. has unveiled artificial intelligence-powered driver assistance technology to interpret drivers’ brain activity and reduce accident risks.

Honda has become the first in the world to disclose an AI-driven automobile safety feature. It aims to put its technology into practical use in the late 2020s.

Competition is heating up in the global automobile industry to develop self-driving and other next-generation technologies.

Honda’s new technology alerts drivers to accident risks recognized by analyzing information on their physical state, eye movements and traffic conditions collected through cameras and sensors.

Drivers are informed of danger through visual, aural and haptic means. For example, seat belts tighten automatically and a light by the steering wheel flashes to warn the driver who has failed to notice a pedestrian at a crossroads.

When a vehicle is approaching from behind, a speaker in the driver’s seat sounds a warning. The seat vibrates when the system detects that the driver is drowsy or fatigued.

Honda also announced a plan to build a system to prevent accidents by connecting drivers and pedestrians through communications networks.

For this purpose, the company hopes to expand its collaboration with a wide range of companies, including those in the auto and telecommunications industries.

Honda aims to reduce the number of deaths from traffic accidents involving its automobiles or motorcycles to zero worldwide by 2050.

“We’ll certainly meet the [zero fatality] goal. This is our most important task,” Keiji Otsu, president of Honda R&D Co., said at a venue in Sakura, Tochigi Prefecture, where the new safety features were unveiled.