vehicle-to-vehicle communication
August 19, 2014

NHSTA Proposed Policy Would Require Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technology In New Cars, Light Trucks

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has taken the first steps towards instituting a new policy requiring all future cars and light trucks to be outfitted with vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) technology capable of helping them to warn each other of potential collisions in time to prevent accidents.

According to Joan Lowy of the Associated Press (AP), the NHTSA issued new research on Monday which claims that V2V technology could ultimately prevent an estimated 592,000 left-turn and intersection crashes and save over one-thousand lives each year. As a result, the agency stated it will begin drafting rules to require the units in most new vehicles.

“Safety is our top priority, and V2V technology represents the next great advance in saving lives,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Monday. “This technology could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether – saving lives, saving money and even saving fuel thanks to the widespread benefits it offers.”

“The technology uses a radio signal to continually transmit a vehicle's position, heading, speed and other information. Similarly equipped cars and trucks would receive the same information, and their computers would alert drivers to an impending collision,” added Lowy. “A car would ‘see’ when another car or truck equipped with the same technology was about to run a red light, even if that vehicle were hidden around a corner.”

V2V technology works up to a distance of about 300 yards away, meaning that a car would also know when an automobile several vehicles ahead of it in traffic had made a sudden stop, she added. The car would alert the driver even before the brake lights of the vehicle directly in front of the car illuminated.

In addition, if communities invested in the technology, it could be used on roads and traffic lights. In this case, the devices could send or receive information about traffic congestion, road hazards or construction, alerting drivers about possible delays and advising them to take an alternate route when applicable.

“The technology is separate from automated safety features using sensors and radar that are already being built into some high-end vehicles today and which are seen as the basis for future self-driving cars,” Lowy said. “But government and industry officials see the two technologies as compatible. If continuous conversations between cars make driving safer, then self-driving cars would become safer as well.”

“By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety,” added NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. “V2V technology is ready to move toward implementation and this report highlights the work NHTSA and [the Department of Transportation] are doing to bring this technology and its great safety benefits into the nation’s light vehicle fleet.”

The two types of V2V applications described in the report are Left Turn Assist (LTA), which warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA), which lets motor vehicle operators know if it is not safe to enter an intersection due to the high probability of a collision occurring. The NHTSA believes this technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes.

Lowy pointed out that it will “take time for the technology to reach its full effectiveness since the current fleet of vehicles on the road will have to turn over or be retrofitted,” but that once “a critical mass” of cars and trucks are equipped with the V2V technology, it is believed that they will be better able to safely follow one-another at a pre-determined destination on highways, while also enhancing traffic flow and saving fuel in the process.

The cost of adding the technology to new vehicles or retrofitting older cars and trucks is expected to be between $100 and $200 per automobile, the AP said. The NHSTA’s V2V advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) the accompanying comprehensive research report will help the agency to gather significant input from stakeholders and the general public, with an official Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expected to be issued by 2016.

On Monday, Association of Global Automakers issued a response in support of the NHTSA's efforts.

“NHTSA’s kickoff of the rulemaking process for V2V communications demonstrates the country is well on its way to deploying this life saving technology,” said John Bozzella, Global Automakers president and CEO. “This also means that more than ever we need to preserve the space on the spectrum that these safety systems rely on to operate.”


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