It's always nice to see an innovative way of making motorbike safer so the news that intelligent tail lights could enable communication between vehicles in order to reduce accidents is always good to hear. At least that's the idea behind a collaborative Connected Vehicle Safety project between Intel and National Taiwan University. Its purpose is so that you'll be able to know just what the vehicles around you are up to -- whether they're speeding or braking or making a left -- by receiving data from their tail lights. Your vehicle could then stop or accelerate automatically without you needing to intervene, or you could choose to react manually if desired.

A recent demo was held to highlight the progress so far. Both scooters in the demo were hooked up to a laptop but apparently in real-world applications, a palm-sized microcontroller would be sufficient. The front scooters movements were interpreted by the laptop and signals were transferred to the tail light, while the rear scooter has a photo diode with a 120-degree viewing angle mounted underneath its handlebars. The diode would be able to use the receiving signal strength from vehicles around it to determine which is closest. Modulation of the tail light flashing frequency prevents interference and allows multiple vehicles to be tracked simultaneously.

When the front scooter hit the brakes, the smartphone mounted on the rear scooter showed a red square. Similarly, when the front scooter made a left turn signal, a left arrow appeared on the display. Divya Kolar, a technology evangelist at Intel, explained that when all of this information is collated together, it'll be able to transmit the traffic patterns to the cloud so that others not in the same vicinity can learn from it and change their routes appropriately. Of course, this is still all in the research stage, so we likely won't see this in our vehicles any time soon but it will be very welcome to any big-city commuters out there when it appears.