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Feds want cars to talk to each other to avoid crashes

Lucas Mearian | Dec. 16, 2016
Vehicle-to-vehicle and Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication could stop up to 80% of non-impaired crashes

For example, roadway cameras, sensors and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles will be able to communicate traffic information in real time to other vehicles and alert drivers to accidents or traffic jams. Combined with autonomous driving technology, V2I and V2V will be able to manage traffic flow more efficiently.

Michigan, which just approved driverless cars and trucks on its roadways, is home to the largest deployment of V2I electronic communications technology in its Smart Corridor. The corridor is a series of public highways -- more than 120 miles in all -- in Southeast Michigan that have more than 100 Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) transponder units. The DSRC units share traffic information with cars and trucks that have V2I and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology and alert drivers to potential problems to prevent accidents.

For example, if a V2V-enabled car makes a sudden stop in heavy fog or its stability control engages on a rain-slicked road, every V2V-enabled car around it will know almost instantly, giving drivers time to react.

The NHTSA estimates that safety applications enabled by V2V and V2I could eliminate or mitigate the severity of up to 80% of non-impaired crashes, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes.

V2V devices would use dedicated short range communications (DSRC) to transmit data such as location, direction and speed to nearby vehicles. That data would be updated and broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles; using that information, V2V-equipped vehicles can identify risks and warn drivers of imminent crashes. Vehicles that contain automated driving functions — such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control — could also benefit from the use of V2V data to better avoid or reduce crashes.

V2V communications can provide the vehicle and driver with enhanced abilities to address other crash situations, including those, for example, in which a driver needs to decide whether it is safe to pass on a two-lane road (potential head-on collision); make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic; or determine that a vehicle approaching an intersection appears to be on a collision course. In those situations, V2V communications can detect developing threat situations hundreds of yards away, and often in situations in which the driver and on-board sensors alone cannot detect the threat.

The NHTSA also said a driver's privacy would be protected in V2V safety transmissions because they doesn't involve the exchange of information linked to or, as a practical matter, linkable to an individual. The rule would require extensive privacy and security controls in any V2V devices.


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