Honda testing vehicle-to-vehicle communications to eliminate SMIDSY accidents


September 3, 2013

Honda's DSRC safety system warns the driver their path is about to intersect with a motorcycle

Honda's DSRC safety system warns the driver their path is about to intersect with a motorcycle

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Here's a term almost all motorcyclists run across in their first couple of years on the road: SMIDSY. It stands for "sorry mate, I didn't see you" and it's the standard apology we get when we're sprawled across the bonnet of a car after its driver has pulled out in front of us.

To be fair, while these accidents are most certainly the driver's fault, several factors are working against them. Bikes are single headlight vehicles, so there are less visual cues for drivers to use to work out how fast we're approaching. We're physically smaller, easily obscured behind smallish obstacles, and drivers are often unaware how quickly bikes can accelerate, which can result in some nasty surprises.

Honda is looking into the idea of using Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) to give drivers advance warning when a SMIDSY situation could be coming up.

DSRC is a short-range wireless communication protocol designed specifically to let vehicles communicate with stationary objects like toll booths, traffic signals and railway crossings, as well as with other vehicles. It's likely to be the means by which adaptive cruise control evolves to the next level, among a raft of other uses.

Honda is working with the University of Michigan to develop a DSRC early warning system that can flash a "motorcycle approaching" warning and a series of beeps when a driver seems to be about to pull out in front of an approaching bike that's got a DSRC device installed.

The idea is simple in concept, but quite complex in implementation, especially when it comes down to working out exactly when a warning is needed. After all, nothing would render a warning system like this ineffective quicker than the damn thing going off all the time.

The system is also being developed as an app for DSRC-equipped smartphones, so you can walk along looking at your phone to tell you if there's a DSRC-equipped car coming – that's if, say, actually looking at the road isn't telling you that in the first place. The app also lets the car drivers know there's a pedestrian coming, who's got his head stuck in his mobile phone. I'm not sure how much I support this circumvention of Darwinian principles.

It's too early to tell what sort of an impact DSRC technology will have on the cars of the future, but if systems like this can cut down on a few SMIDSY accidents, everyone's a winner!

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

I agree, its a good idea but the last thing cars need is another chime; maybe a small electric shock


Lisc & expand more, must have for all car/truck makes/

Stephen Russell

Of course none of this is going to work if it requires drivers, who as Loz notes "are often unaware" to pay attention. Still remains our resposibility if we want to go home alive, to ride like the F#$%wits are trying to kill us.

Hurtle Gear

People who don't have a transponder will get ran over at ever increasing rates. Full auto drive or none.


shouldn't someone speak to the manufactures and get them to put better lights on the bikes so they do look like bikes and not just a single light first? it wouldn't be hard or expensive and could save a lot of people before the new tech is universal?

hell some LED strip lights attached to the bike and to the battery would help outline a bike and show its shape!


The head lights on most bikes are perfectly adequate, i have a relatively basiy Yamaha YZF-R125 and while riding behind a friend she actually complained about the light to me. my bike has 2 side lights, one low beam and one high beam, but there are bikes out ther with two of each. i see little reason for there to be 2 headlights on bikes anyway (other than aesthetics...) if the lights are changed to HID / Xenon headlights they are very bright. Bikes do not need to be outlined with LED strip lights, that would A be off putting to other road users and B look ridiculous. what is needed is more awareness from car drivers. i have been filtering through traffic at a mere 10mph and seen car drivers jump as i go past, this has also happened in moving traffic which is most unnerving. and here is a bike with 2 headlights...


I have said this over and over and no one listens,when you see a bus,what gets your attention ?yes the white strobe on the roof.A white strobe,which could be activated by the driver of the motorcycle,when he wants to get the attention of a driver prepared to pull out or it could be left on as standard daylight driving device like school buses.It would save lives,I know it,and one life is worth more than the cost of a strobe light.Daylight headlights do little to get the antention of other drivers,it more annoying then helpful.

Thomas Lewis

our brains become conditioned by what we see in our daily lives,but theirs one thing the brain always reacts too ,is flashing.I see school buses everyday,bought I never miss the flashing white strobe,flashing white strobes,positioned and timed correctly ,with the right amount of brightness.The only problem I see is cost,but whatever it would add to the price of a motorcycle,is worth a life.It should be standard equipment on all road bikes

Thomas Lewis

I had this idea years ago with very little time needed to ponder, once the problem of unseen motorcycles being hit was made real to me. It's typical that people who make vehicles and motorcycles who're Paid to thinking of technologies and such to better alleviate certain mass problems are so lax in coming up with it now. Not to mention [supposed] safety councils, politicians, and Gov/State leaders as well. Hidden Personal & Revenue Agenda amongst those influential and companies is what is crippling the US and World in every aspect. Sooo many problems of death and economy are quickly fixed if money was not the secret ultimate goal. It's quite evident that the thoughts must be; "Gotta squeeze the wallets of citizens dry of every technology before you release the one in the closet that is seriously better than the current one."

Just do a search; this subject is years in articles old reported, and we Still don't have them as widely as could and should be. So how many lives have needlessly been lost from Lazy corporations on this matter alone? But we sure have Bluetooth and Pandora STANDARD in the cheapest of cars though. Looks like Priorities are well in order as usual.

James Hartt
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