New Technology May Prevent Crashes by Allowing Cars to “Talk” to Each Other
Technology revealed at a recent transportation conference confirms that we are on our way to developing ways for cars to communicate with each other to alert drivers to dangerous driving conditions, thereby reducing traffic accident and fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working for years with automakers to help develop this technology.Innovation Sign
Car manufacturers already have technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with each other about their direction, location and speed, and share this information with other cars within approximately 1,000 feet of each other. Information can be relayed to drivers so they can be aware of possibly dangerous situations before they may even see another car coming.
This vehicle-to-vehicle, V2V communication, has the potential to drastically decrease the amount of traffic collisions and fatal accidents on our roadways. Even beyond allowing cars to communicate with each other, V2V technology could go so far as to take control of a car, for instance, to apply brakes before a driver is able to do so, to avoid an accident.
V2V technology can also let drivers know if they will have enough time to make an unprotected left turn, or if it is safe to pass another vehicle on a two lane road when drivers can’t yet see around the curve of a road. Drivers can even be alerted when cars ahead of them slam on their brakes due to slow traffic, to help avoid rear-end collisions. Cars could even be connected with roadways to give city planners a better idea of how to make the most efficient roads, and to alert drivers to upcoming traffic or construction zones.
This year, researchers will conduct a real-world test in Ann Arbor, Michigan, using 3,000 real buses, trucks and cars, and volunteer drivers. The year-long test will investigate the real-world application of such technology, and find ways to improve it.
David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said V2V “is our next evolutionary step … to make sure the crash never happens in the first place, which is, frankly, the best safety scenario we can all hope for.”
So how do we ensure that all drivers have access to this lifesaving technology? First, say industry experts, the government has to set the standard and make sure all automakers use this technology. The only way for V2V technology to exist in all cars is for the government to mandate its inclusion in all new vehicles.
According to Clarence Ditlow, the Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety, “if you have the technology, and the price has gone down so much, use it,” he said. “You aren’t going to get it into the marketplace as fast as you could and save as many lives as you could unless you mandate it.”
I am certainly in support of any technology that will decrease traffic accidents, and reduce the number of people who are injured or killed in car crashes. Over 32,000 people died last year in traffic accidentsalone. I hope the government continues to support further research into this technology to make it a viable option for inclusion on cars in the near future.