CES 2020 is just about over, but a few interesting details are still trickling out from the event, including this: An Android Auto-based system that uses pedestrian’s phones (plus a bit of predictive AI) to warn you when someone’s about to leap out in front of your car. As always with these sort of early tech demos, there are a lot of catches.
The system is called Viziblezone (a name it shares with the company itself), and it requires that both the in-car navigation system and pedestrian’s phones be running the company’s app. There’s a little bit of flexibility there, as the company does plan to provide an SDK that can plug into third-party products, and it can be integrated directly into in-vehicle systems within the car (or even just run off an app in a docked phone). But essentially, for this to work as intended, every car would need to be plugged into Viziblezone in some way, and every pedestrian phone would also need to either have the app pre-installed and running, or third-party apps would have to make use of its SDK to the point of ubiquity.
Still, if all these hypothetical stars can align, Viziblezone-enabled phones can broadcast their location to nearby vehicles, which process that data with a bit of machine learning to determine if there’s a good chance of an accident or not. If there is, drivers are alerted with enough time to (hopefully) prevent plowing into any happy-go-lucky pedestrians.
The number of dependencies a system like this has means it’s a little unlikely you’ll see it in your phone or car very soon —unless someone like Google decides to integrate or clone it. Even when things all work right, and if somehow every pedestrian agrees to install the app, there’s a potential there for privacy issues, depending on how location data is being transmitted. Existing camera-based solutions available in some cars might not work as quickly or give you as much of a warning, but they also aren’t based on tracking random pedestrian’s phones.
Though the company has an app published now on the Play Store, we weren’t able to see it available in Android Auto in our own testing. For more details about how it works, you can check out Viziblezone’s site.