Federal traffic safety officials are paving the way for development of vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, which they say could prevent most crashes involving two or more cars.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will publish a research report on the technology in coming weeks and then begin working on a regulatory proposal to require vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) devices in new cars in a future year.
V2V communication technology lets vehicles sharing the road "talk" to each other and ultimately avoid crashes. Basic safety data, such as speed and position, are exchanged between vehicles 10 times per second. The technology provides 360-degree awareness of what other vehicles are doing, and it can detect and warn drivers of threats hundreds of yards away. It's helpful in many situations, including when a driver needs to decide if it's safe to pass on a two-lane road or make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic.
"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," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press statement. "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."
The safety applications under development warn drivers of danger, but do not automatically operate any vehicle systems, such as braking or steering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering future actions on safety technologies that rely on on-board sensors, which likely would be blended with the V2V technology.
V2V technology does not involve exchanging or recording personal information or tracking vehicle movements. The information sent between vehicles does not identify the cars or drivers, but merely contains basic safety data.