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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it is going to create a formal path forward for vehicle-to-vehicle communication for light vehicles. This means that NTHSA will start regulatory proposals on how this technology could become mandatory in the future.
Through the technology, vehicles would be able to talk with each other and exchange information to prevent crashes and relay basic speed and position information.
"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 air bags," says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "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 DOT launched a safety pilot for V2V communications in Ann Arbor, Mich., in August 2012 that tied 3,000 vehicles together in the biggest ever road test of the technology. The agency concluded that safety applications using the technology can address “a large majority of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles,” according to a press release.
Currently under development are applications that could warn drivers of imminent crashes, but that do not intercede by automatically driving the vehicle out of those situations. NHTSA said in a release, however, that it is considering more active safety solutions in the future that will blend with V2V solutions.
"V2V crash avoidance technology has game-changing potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths on our nation’s roads," says NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. "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 electronic stability control technology."
NHTSA plans to publish a report based on the safety pilot test bed findings in the coming weeks, which will be available for public comment.
The agency addressed security issues that abound with the potential of cars sharing information with one another, stating in its release, “The information sent between vehicles does not identify those vehicles, but merely contains basic safety data. In fact, the system as contemplated contains several layers of security and privacy protection to ensure that vehicles can rely on messages sent from other vehicles and that a vehicle or group of vehicles would be identifiable through defined procedures only if there is a need to fix a safety problem.”