Vehicle-to-vehicle communication coming soon, will prevent collisions

The data exchange among cars will make for safer roads

Published: February 03, 2014 03:45 PM

After a decade of research, the Department of Transportation today announced its decision to move forward toward a mandate that will require all light vehicles to come equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology to allow cars to “talk to each other” to prevent accidents.

V2V allows cars in the same area to instantly communicate with one another over a wireless network, exchanging data about each vehicle’s speed, location, and direction of travel. With that information, the cars can determine whether a crash is likely and warn drivers in advance to brake or take action to avoid the crash. In more advanced designs, V2V systems can even brake the car if a driver doesn’t respond quickly enough. This can help in common everyday crash situations, such as rear-enders, lane changing, and intersections.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has seen the promise of this technology through years of research and collaboration with automakers and universities. Most recently, the benefits have been demonstrated in a yearlong pilot test of 3,000 V2V-equipped vehicles in Ann Arbor, Mich. NHTSA says early indications show that V2V can prevent 70 percent to 80 percent of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers. Currently, there are more than 30,000 vehicle deaths a year, which the Acting NHTSA Administrator David Friedman says is unacceptable for a nation as advanced as the United States.

For those concerned about privacy issues, Friedman says that through this technology, “no personal information will be recorded, sent, or received.” It will run on a dedicated wireless spectrum called DSRC that will be an open platform, so all vehicles from every automaker will be able to communicate with each other.

The importance of this revolutionary V2V technology and future rulemaking is matched only by the development of the interstate highway system, says Friedman.

While there is no official date when this mandate will be in place; the goal is to get it done before President Obama leaves office in 2017. In the coming weeks, the proposal will be open for public comment and review before it moves forward in the regulatory process to ultimately lead to the agency requiring all vehicles to come equipped with V2V technology.

Consumer Reports had the opportunity to try out V2V technology from a number of automakers and came away impressed with the effectiveness and potential safety benefits of the systems.

Read "Vehicle-to-vehicle communication can prevent crashes" to learn more about the technology and its impact on everyday driving.

For more about vehicle safety, see our special section.

Liza Barth

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