Since even the threat of serious injury or death isn't enough to keep people engrossed in their phones from walking out into traffic, General Motors is developing a new pedestrian safety technology that will sense the phone itself. Using Wi-Fi Direct, a peer-to-peer wireless standard that's like a medium-range Bluetooth, a car would be able to detect a smartphone directly and alert the driver in time to avoid kneecapping the pedestrian.
GM says that Wi-Fi Direct would allow devices to connect in one second, rather than the seven to eight that devices would need when connecting through a cell tower. While GM is still developing the concept, it also has plans for a smartphone app that would warn approaching vehicles. It could be used by bike messengers, construction workers, and others who are frequently at risk of being hit by traffic.