The government is moving toward mandating new technology that lets cars talk to one another and could prevent or mitigate up to 80% of car crashes involving non-impaired drivers, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationannounced today.
With 30,000 people killed on U.S. roads every year, that could save a lot of lives.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology lets cars exchange information about their speed, direction, and position, 10 times per second.
That makes them far better-equipped than their human drivers to determine if it’s safe to pass on a two-lane road or turn left at an intersection.
A year-long pilot program with 3,000 cars, trucks, and buses in Ann Arbor, Michigan “demonstrates V2V’s viability and value,” the DOT said in a blog post. As tested, the vehicles warn the driver of danger, but do not hit the brakes or control steering.
The NHTSA will soon publish a report analysing the data collected, covering technical feasibility, privacy and security, safety benefits, and cost.
After that, it will “begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year.”
If it goes into effect, this technology will eventually be mandated in all new cars. And one day, we could all live in a world where every car can communicate with its neighbours.
There are benefits to V2V beyond safety. The E.U.-financed Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) project uses wireless technology to connect six to eight cars in a convoy, so they act like so many cars of a train. The resulting “road train” keeps vehicles at the same speed, improving fuel efficiency and reducing congestion.
And it’s not a leap to see how V2V moves us a step closer to self-driving cars, once automakers add the ability to actually avoid crashes, not just give humans a heads up.
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