A $100 computer chip could revolutionise car safety.

The chip allows cars to talk to each other and warn drivers of hazards that may lie ahead.

More than 1.35 million people die each year in traffic accidents, with between 20 and 50 million suffering non-fatal injuries.

To tackle the issues, connected vehicle experts at Autotalks have developed a chip that broadcasts a car’s location, direction and speed up to 10 times a second.

Other ‘connected cars’ in the vicinity receive the messages and are able to estimate the risk posed by the approaching vehicle.

If there is a hazard ahead, such as a motorcyclist not slowing down for an intersection — a warning will be displayed on the car’s infotainment screen.

Eventually, however, instead of just providing drivers with a warning, fully autonomous cars will be able to take direct action to prevent a crash.

The technology is known as ‘vehicle to everything’ (V2X) and allows cars to talk to other vehicles along with infrastructure such as traffic lights and, eventually, mobile phones (to help prevent pedestrians from being hurt).

The V2X system, which costs as little as $100 to install in a new car, has been targeted by Hyundai, whose Tel Aviv-based CRADLE team has invested in the company.

It follows research by Hyundai that reveals 15 per cent of British motorists have had a near-miss in the past month after becoming distracted at the wheel.

The survey of 2000 motorists also found over the past month, 25 per cent of drivers have had a near-miss with a pedestrian who walked on to the road without paying attention.

More than one in eight (13 per cent) said they have nearly been involved in a crash with a motorcyclist over the past month.

And 22 per cent of those surveyed admitted they have had a car crash that could have been prevented if they were paying more attention.

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Autotalks Yaniv Sulkes said the thing most likely to kill you is a car and, if you’re a motorcyclist — the chances are even higher.

“People don’t like the statistics but every day around 3700 people lose their lives in crashes,” he said.

“This is an epidemic and we need to think of ways to address it.

“Ultimately we all want to get from point A to point B safely and if you get an alert ahead of a potential hazard, you can avoid the accident. This is the underlying principle of what we do.

“Our eyes are brilliant, they are as good as any camera, but we might take our eyes off the road or lose concentration and this is where chipsets can help.

“Communication tools don’t need line of sight. If they detect a hazard they can give you enough time to take the right course of action, in confidence.”

It is anticipated the first wave of Autotalks chipsets will be fitted to cars from 2021

Autotalks is one of a number of Israel-based start-up companies which Hyundai CRADLE is investing in as part of a strategic partnership.

CRADLE Coordinator Changhan Lee said safety is one of the most important factors that consumers consider when buying a car.

“There will always be human error, whether drivers are distracted, or pedestrians aren’t paying attention and the consequences can be devastating,” he said.

“V2X technology improves road safety and Autotalks is one of a number of innovative Israeli start-ups Hyundai Cradle is collaborating with.”

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.

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