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90-percent of drivers who experience vehicle-to-vehicle safety technology want it in their own car

Consumer Reports News: May 22, 2012 04:38 PM

Nine out of 10 drivers who experienced safety technology that allows cars to communicate to one another would like to see such features in their own vehicles, according to results from connected vehicle driver acceptance clinics conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication allows "talk" through wireless technology to communicate safety messages between vehicles and structures to help prevent crashes. The DOT has projected that the system has the potential to help drivers avoid or minimize up to 80 percent of crashes involving unimpaired drivers.

The DOT held six driver clinics around the country from August 2011 to January 2012 to see how drivers would interact and adapt to the new technology. The results show that 82 percent strongly agreed they would like to have these features on their personal vehicles. More than 90 percent said many of the specific features would improve their driving in the real world. The top features drivers would want on their own vehicle include warnings for hazards in intersections, potential forward collisions, and lane change or blind spot alerts.

The DOT collected data from 688 participants, split equally between male and female and spread across three age categories (20-30, 40-50, and 60-70 years old). Each participant experienced driving in eight manufacturer-equipped vehicles with a variety of the crash avoidance aids. (See our blog for more details on which alerts and warning drivers tested.)

I experienced connected vehicles at one of the clinics and came away impressed with the effectiveness and potential safety benefits of the systems. These systems have the potential of reducing the false positives that affect current radar-and-camera based systems, as well as providing warnings across a wider variety of driving situations.

The next step in the research begins this August when about 3,000 connected vehicles will test the safety features along the roads around the University of Michigan to see how they work in real-world situations.

The information collected from the clinics and the upcoming Michigan test will help inform a potential mandate for such safety technology.

For more on the V2V technology, how it works, and the benefits and possible road blocks, see our report: "Stopping crashes with smarter cars."

Liza Barth

   

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