Honda has developed a system that can detect whether a driver is likely to cause a traffic jam, then take measures to prevent it happening. Hallelujah!
It's actually remarkably simple, and based on the notion that adopting an 'on/off' driving style on a motorway - in which a driver accelerates and decelerates rather than maintaining a smooth, constant speed - can trigger congestion.
We've all been stuck in motorway tailbacks that are apparently caused by nothing. Research suggests that these jams are often caused by that special group of tailgating, brake-tapping, outside lane-hogging drivers who ruin motorways for everyone.
What Honda's system does is detect this particular driving style and does something about it. Sadly, that 'something' doss not involve a hand appearing from the steering wheel boss and slapping the offender in the face.
Instead, it provides a colour-coded display on the dash that encourages smooth driving. In future, it will also be able to connect the car to a 'cloud' computer server that will make cruise control systems 'talk' to each other, and work in harmony to keep rows of cars an appropriate distance apart.
Honda says that the system improves average speeds by a significant 23% (proving the folly of the aforementioned group), as well as reduces overall fuel consumption by 8%.
Developed in conjunction with the University of Tokyo, the system is still in development, but will be trialled on public roads for the first time this month, in Italy and Indonesia.