DETROIT – Honda demonstrates two experimental safety technologies here that are substantially less expensive than the camera- and radar-based technologies currently being used by auto makers to avoid potential collisions with people.

Honda’s vehicle-to-pedestrian system (V2P) uses a smartphone embedded with Dedicated Short Range Communications technology to detect a pedestrian.

DSRC is not Wi-Fi. It is a wireless communication bandwidth specifically designed for future vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and related communications, says Jim Keller, chief engineer for Honda R&D Americas.

DSRC has both short- and long-term benefits, Keller says. In the short term, it can add another level of safety to established vehicle detection systems. In the long term, it has the potential to reduce reliance on more expensive sensing technologies.

When a moving car detects a pedestrian likely to walk into a vehicle’s path, the system provides an audible and visual alert to the driver, while the pedestrian’s phone also delivers a warning, interrupting music, voice or texting functions that may be active.

This new system uses the pedestrian’s smartphone GPS, its dynamic sensing capability and DSRC wireless technology in the 5.9 GHz bandwidth to establish a communications channel to determine if the pedestrian is in danger of being struck by an oncoming car.

The V2P system works even if the pedestrian is not detectable by the driver, such as stepping into traffic from between parked cars. A proprietary smartphone application determines the position, direction and speed of the pedestrian and, using DSRC, the position of surrounding vehicles.

Honda also shows off a system that uses DSRC to determine the potential for a collision between vehicles and motorcycles. With a special transponder mounted to the motorcycle, the system can detect the presence of the bike even if it is obstructed from view by other vehicles.

If the potential for collision is detected, the system will give the car driver auditory and visual warnings.

“While these are still experimental technologies, they provide a strong indication of the future potential for the kinds of advanced collision-sensing and predictive technologies Honda is developing to further reduce the potential for serious accidents, injuries and even fatalities,” Keller says.

dwinter@wardsauto.com