One day, your mobile phone might save you from being knocked down by vehicles while crossing the road.
Carmaker General Motors has revealed that it is working on a smart phone application that will let cyclists and pedestrians automatically warn a driver once they get close.
According to GM, the system is based on Wi-Fi Direct, a computer networking standard that allows smartphones to swap information without needing a wireless hotspot to connect them.
GM researchers said the system can integrate with ''other sensor-based object detection and driver alert systems already available on production vehicles'' to alert drivers within a second when they approach a cyclist or pedestrian with a smartphone loaded with the wireless technology.
It is already working on a downloadable app for high-risk road users such as bike-based couriers and roadwork crews.
"This new wireless capability could warn drivers about pedestrians who might be stepping into the roadway from behind a parked vehicle, or bicyclists who are riding in the car's blind spot,'' the Age quoted Nady Boules, the director of GM Global R 'n' D's Electrical and Control Systems Research Lab, as saying.
The Wi-Fi Direct standard allows for devices to be able to 'see' each other from distances of up to 200 metres away.
According to the researchers, the standard also allows carmakers to improve car-to-car communications, which will be increasingly important as our roads become more crowded and vehicles start to talk to each other to work out the best route home.