Chip that detects road risks being tested

Road users who worry about getting into accidents, especially when traffic is heavy, could get some relief if a new technology, being tested here, takes off.

A chip, developed by Dutch firm NXP Semiconductors, can warn motorists of potential accidents on roads and advise them to avoid congested roads.

It contains a global-positioning-system receiver that collects real-time data wirelessly, such as a vehicle's exact location, in a way that does not compromise the privacy of motorists.

The data can then be used to help calculate the fastest and most cost-effective route, or advise motorists to choose the best means of transport.

The technology also allows vehicles with the chip to wirelessly communicate with other such vehicles, in order to warn motorists of dangers ahead, such as a car that has braked suddenly. This can help prevent accidents.

The chip can also advise motorists on the optimum speed at which they can drive safely.

Compared to the current

congestion-management methods used by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the new technology "proactively warns motorists of potential risks on the road", said an NXP spokesman.

"It reduces chances of accidents happening," he said.

Vehicles equipped with the chip are being tested here and about 100 vehicles are involved in the test. The chip can be installed in many types of vehicles - such as cars, motorcycles and vans.

NXP is in talks with LTA over the possible implementation of the chip in vehicles here.

Germany and Belgium are among 23 European Union member countries that have committed to installing the chip in their vehicles by 2015.

An NXP spokesman said the results of the Singapore trial for the chip have been promising.

He said that it can help "drivers to save costs and contribute to a greener environment" as less congestion means less greenhouse-gas emissions.

oonlisa@sph.com.sg


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