Mazda begins road testing of Advanced Safety Vehicle concept using road- and vehicle-based sensors to warn the driver of hidden obstacles on blind corners.

We won't have flying cars any time soon, but Mazda is working to take us closer to the science-fiction "roads of tomorrow" nonetheless as on-road trials of its unassuming ASV-4 safety car begin in and around Hiroshima.  It may not look like much, but the ASV-4 is a highly advanced bundle of technology.  The Advanced Safety Vehicle (ASV) project is developing vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology that will allow a car to be aware of other cars in low-visibility situations.  With a car that's able to warn the driver of other vehicles he or she might not see, the ASV-4 can help eliminate two-vehicle collisions.

Mazda plans to start testing the ASV-4 on public roads in Hiroshima this year.   Sensors along the road can "talk" to the ASV-4 and inform the car of potential danger ahead.  Mazda's trial is intended to explore the real-world feasibility of road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.  

Mazda has not announced any plans beyond the public-road testing, but it's not a long step from a radar-based pre-collision system similar to those found in many luxury cars to a vehicle that can take over in an emergency and swerve away from an unexpected vehicle.  The day when our cars can take action to avoid one another even when the driver isn't paying attention may be closer than you think.  

Gallery: Mazda ASV-4 Advanced Safety Vehicle On Public Road Trials