Could Cars That ‘Talk to Each Other’ Reduce Crashes?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a proposed rule that would enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication for all new light-duty vehicles. The proposed rule aims to prevent car accidents by letting vehicles communicate with each other.

This idea was first floated by the NHTSA nearly 3 years ago. If put into effect by 2019 as proposed, it would start phasing in the new rule in 2021, with 2023 set as the deadline for compliance.stockfresh_6593245_connected-car-truck-vehicle-autonomous_sizeS-300x253

How V2V Technology Works

V2V technology uses dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) to allow vehicles within about 1,000 feet of each other to exchange information about location, direction and speed. That info is sent 10 times per second, and vehicles with V2V can use that information to warn the driver about safety hazards.

If a vehicle has automated driving features, it can also use the V2V information to adapt its speed, direction, or braking in order to avoid crashes.

A Life-Saving Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation believes that V2V technology has the capability of preventing hundreds of thousands of accidents per year. And NHTSA estimates that using V2V and V2I could eliminate or reduce the severity of up to 80% of crashes where the driver is not impaired.

According to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, “Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways. V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safe, and when combined, their potential is untold.”

What About Implementation of V2V and V2I Communications?

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is planning to issue guidance shortly for vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, so that transportation planners and administrators can integrate the technologies vehicles will use to communicate with traffic infrastructure. The vehicles would communicate with traffic lights, construction zones, stop signs, etc. in order to improve safety and traffic congestion.

The timeline, if the rule is approved, gives automakers time to develop and install the technology as required by the rule. Implementation would begin in 2021, with compliance required starting in 2023. The DOT estimates V2V technology will add about $341-350 per new car in 2020.

There is a concern among some that by the time 2023 arrives, the rule will be obsolete, and that automated vehicle technologies will have surpassed the scope of the proposed V2V rule. But to most, this looks like a step in the right direction in using technology to improve highway safety.

The notice for the proposed rule is open to public comment for 90 days.

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