The Department of Transportation announces plans to require cars to talk to each other.
In a press conference today, US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced that the Obama administration intends to require automakers to equip new cars with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology, as reported by Joan Lowy of the Associated Press. A Department of Transportation (DOT) press release quotes Foxx as saying, "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."
After researching the issue, the DOT believes that most two-vehicle crashes could be prevented with V2V communication. According to the press release, the current plan is for the communication systems to provide warnings to the human driver to respond to, likely merging with technology for the eventual automation of vehicle control further down the road. This would represent a step in the direction of a world of largely automated, networked vehicle fleets which futurists have long claimed would virtually eliminate traffic fatalities, while reducing congestion and transport times, and improving gas mileage.
The DOT conducted tests of V2V technology in both controlled and real world environments, including a 3,000 vehicle road test in Ann Arbor, MI. It also reports high levels of favorability and acceptance of the technology in public opinion studies. The DOT claims that V2V communications will enable vehicles to detect danger at ranges beyond the capabilities of onboard sensors, and that the technology will not identify vehicles or track their movements, but will incorporate "layers of security and privacy protection".
The DOT has not given any specific timeframe in which it anticipates this plan to be enacted, but stated that a more complete report would be forthcoming, and that "the signal this announcement sends to the market will significantly enhance development of this technology and pave the way for market penetration of V2V safety applications.