NHTSA: Light Cars to be Enabled with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology to Improve Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in February 2014 that it will move forward with plans to install vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology in light cars. According to research conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT), V2V technology has been proven to reduce crashes, including rear-end collisions, accidents at intersections, head-on collisions, as well as crashes that result from lane changes.

multi car.jpgV2V works by allowing nearby vehicles to “talk” to each other. The technology allows vehicles to exchange basic information, such as position and speed, with each other ten times per second. The technology can detect dangerous situations hundreds of yards away that may not be seen by a driver. If a threat is detected, the technology will sound an alarm warning the driving about an impending collision. For instance, V2V technology would warn a driver if an unseen car is rapidly approaching an intersection. Currently, V2V does not act upon or engage any driving systems, such as the brakes or steering. In the future, however, V2V may be combined with sensor technology to help save travel time and reduce fuel consumption.

According to NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman, V2V will likely become a standard feature in future vehicles. He said, “V2V crash avoidance technology has game-changing potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths on our nation’s roads. Decades from now, it’s likely we’ll look back at this time period as one in which the historical arc of transportation safety considerably changed for the better, similar to the introduction of standards for seat belts, airbags, and electronics stability control technology.”

While the technology was tested in labs, in 2012 3,000 vehicles outfitted with V2V technology were road tested in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The road test was successful and showed that the technology reduces crashes.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “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 airbags. 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 NHTSA is currently working on a proposal that would require all vehicles in the future to have V2V technology. For more information on V2V technology, click here for the NHTSA website.

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