Mazda is planning to showcase a new vehicle to vehicle communication system at the 20th ITS World Congress in Tokyo this October. This communication system is to be included in its new Mazda 6-based test car whose trials are to begin in Japan this month. The Mazda Atenza ASV-5, Atenza being the Japanese market name for the 6 sedan, utilizes an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) telecommunication network that aims to allow communication between vehicles, people and roads, helping to solve transport problems such as accidents, congestion and environmental impact.
The highlight of this car’s technology will be communication with streetcar public transit systems. It’s the first time ITS has linked passenger car and streetcar, but as cities all around the world turn to tram or similar light rail systems to reduce inner-city congestion and pollution, a system that allows them to safely share the roads with cars becomes even more important.
The city of Hiroshima’s streetcar system moves 150,000 people per day, significantly cutting down on potential traffic. The aim of communications between the tram system and vehicles is to reduce the potential for accidents, warning car and streetcar drivers if a collision is likely.
The system was developed and is being tested by the Hiroshima ITS Research Unit  with sponsorship from the Hiroshima ITS Public Road Test Consortium .
In the short term, such technology could be incorporated into Mazda’s recent i-ACTIVSENSE collision-avoidance and safety technology range, but longer-term such technology will be essential for allowing cities full of autonomous cars to run smoothly. The i-ACTIVSENSE suite of technologies includes things like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning alert, and headlights that can switch from automatically between high and low beams, and is appearing first on the 2014 Mazda 3.
This announcement from Mazda comes at a moment wherein all the leading automakers are announcing their plans to develop and test their indigenous autonomous cars.
Hiroshima ITS Research Unit is composed of the University of Tokyo, Mazda Motor Corporation, Hiroshima Electric Railway Co., Ltd. and National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory. It conducts validation trials on public roads under the auspices of Hiroshima ITS Public Road Test Consortium
Hiroshima ITS Public Road Test Consortium plans and coordinates local validation trials in the Hiroshima area for the promotion of ITS. It is made up of Hiroshima University; the University of Tokyo; Chugoku Bureau of Telecommunications, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; Road Department, Chugoku Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Hiroshima National Highway Office, Chugoku Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Chugoku District Transport Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Hiroshima Prefectural Police; Hiroshima Prefecture Civil Engineering Bureau; Hiroshima City Road Transportation Bureau; Chugoku Branch, West Nippon Expressway Company Ltd.; Mazda; Hiroshima Electric Railway Co. Ltd. and National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory.