Among all the dangerous things you can do behind the wheel, driving the wrong direction on a one-way road is one of the worst. One-ways simply don’t have as much space as bidirectional streets, which means there’s less room for error if, and more likely when, someone comes barreling toward you. Worse yet, one-ways — such as those for merging into and exiting from interstates — are often high-speed lanes, making the potential for harm much greater.
Bosch, a German auto supplier, is looking to take the issue head-on, figuratively and literally. The company is currently developing a wrong-way driver warning system that can signal drivers who take the wrong route, and can initiate emergency braking when necessary.
The system is pure software, meaning that it can be integrated into existing infotainment units and apps like Bosch’s own myDriveAssist. It works by comparing the vehicle’s actual position (measured by GPS) with the permitted direction of travel, determined by road sign camera recognition or transportation databases. If a discrepancy is found, the driver is alerted via the vehicle’s infotainment system or by smartphone, and the technology will even activate an emergency brake if necessary.
“Bosch is developing a guardian angel in the data cloud,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, Member of the Board of Management at Bosch. “We’re aiming to achieve quick market acceptance so that the system can realize its life-saving potential to the full as soon as possible.”
Bosch’s project doesn’t just affect the offending vehicle; it has the ability to signal nearby cars of impending dangers as well, via the cloud. According to the company, “The more connected vehicles there are, the denser the invisible safety net and the more comprehensively road users can be warned of wrong-way drivers.”
The wrong-way driver warning system is expected to be available in 2016.