Could ZF’s New App Bring an End to Cars Hitting Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Motorcycle Riders?

The company is looking for partners for its V2X artificial intelligence accident avoidance app.

Drivers aren’t the only ones being distracted by their mobile phones. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists can also be guilty of looking at their phones, rather than looking where they are going—and they comprise 50-percent of 1.25 million annual fatalities caused by traffic accidents globally. Clearly there’s room for improved communications between everyone on the road. German manufacturer ZF has a solution that uses artificial intelligence to predict the likelihood of a collision, then alerts drivers and bystanders, intervening if necessary to keep everyone out of harm’s way. Even better, it’s ready to be used today.

Introduced at the 2017 CES, the X2Safe Intelligent Algorithm was developed in its internal think tank. Leveraging the always-on connectivity of smartphones, wearable devices and cloud computing with artificial intelligence creates a product that can detect the behaviors of individuals. If the system was to identify a problem behavior, like a pedestrian crossing against a light, it would calculate the odds that an approaching vehicle could collide with them. A high risk of an encounter would trigger an alert for drivers in their cars, and for pedestrians or cyclists on their smart device. If neither driver or potential victim changed their behavior to reduce the odds of an accident, the smart algorithm could engage the vehicle’s emergency braking system, or perform evasive maneuvers.

The X2Safe algorithm goes beyond pedestrian avoidance systems that already exists in cars, with forward warning alerts that are radar or camera-based. By using GPS, cloud-computing, and AI, ZF’s system is able to detect accidents even before vehicles can see other road users, and even when visibility is poor.

ZF hasn’t estimated how many lives could be saved, but with studies showing that drivers spend 50 percent of their time on the road distracted, that number could well stretch into the tens of thousands. Even more significant is that this technology doesn’t have to wait for self-driving cars to arrive years down the road. ZF’s X2Safe can work with the cars of today, and the company is in Las Vegas looking for partners to make it reality.