Mazda is the latest carmaker to showcase a new vehicle to vehicle communications system as its new Mazda 6-based test car begins trials in Japan.
The Mazda Atenza ASV-5 -- Atenza being the Japanese-market name for the 6 sedan -- begins trials this month, utilizing an Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) telecommunications network. ITS aims to allow communication between vehicles, people and roads, helping to solve transport problems such as accidents, congestion and environmental impact.
Mazda's contribution to ITS will make its debut at the 20th ITS World Congress in Tokyo this October, where a highlight of the car's technology will be communication with streetcar public transit systems. It's the first time ITS has linked passenger car and streetcar, but as cities all around the world turn to tram or similar light rail systems to reduce inner-city congestion and pollution, a transport system that allows them to safely share the roads with cars becomes even more important.
The city of Hiroshima's streetcar system moves 150,000 people per day, significantly cutting down on potential traffic. The aim of communications between the tram system and vehicles is to reduce the potential for accidents, warning car and streetcar drivers if a collision is likely.
In the short term, such technology could be incorporated into Mazda's recent i-ACTIVSENSE collision-avoidance and safety technology range, but longer-term such technology will be essential for allowing cities full of autonomous cars to run smoothly. The i-ACTIVSENSE suite of technologies includes things like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning alert, and headlights that can switch from automatically between high and low beams, and is appearing first on the 2014 Mazda 3.