Feds want cars to talk to each other, could eliminate many accidents

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Announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that the federal organization will start pushing forward an initiative that will mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology in all light vehicles. Utilizing an isolated radio spectrum, cars would communicate with each other through transponders placed within the vehicle. These transponders would share information such as location, direction and average speed up to ten times per second with other cars that are also on the road.

Speaking about the new technology, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said “Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we’ve already seen with safety belts and air bags. By helping drivers avoid crashes, this technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry.”

Not counting accidents that are caused by drunk driving or vehicle failure, the NHTSA estimates that V2V technology could potentially eliminate up to 80 percent of regular accidents that occur on the road. However, that would require mass adoption of the technology. Regarding a typical scenario, the information being collected by a person’s vehicle would be able to warn other drivers about a potential collision. Hypothetically, automobile manufacturers could adjust the system to automatically slow down the car when a potential collision is detected. In many respects, this is similar to Google’s self-driving car, but perhaps less advanced.

The system could also provide a constantly updated forecast regarding the safety of switching lanes and offer some form of indicator light that gives the driver the go-ahead to change lanes. For example, if a speeding car is rushing up in the left lane, a car that’s 250 feet ahead of it would have a warning and avoid a potential blind spot collision. Some auto manufacturers, such as HondaFord and Mercedes, have already started implementing this technology in their automobiles. 

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