It seems that the U.S government wants cars to talk to each other. Time Magazine reports that the Department of Transportation will propose a new plan that will require car manufacturers to include in every new automobile and light truck vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications systems. This system would allow a vehicle to share with surrounding vehicles information such as speed, location, and heading on a dedicated radio frequency similar to WiFi. The device would alert the driver should a collision be imminent. Some systems would cause the car to slow down if to avoid the collision. The idea is that such a system would prevent up to 80 percent of auto accidents, saving an immense amount of money and lives. A test that took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan suggests that the technology is reliable and useful in preventing accidents.
For those who might have privacy concerns, Engadget mentions that the information being shared will not have any identification data and would be secure enough to ensure the data being sent is reliable.
Fox News adds that this innovation will change the way cars are designed. Cars are built to survive, as much as possible, accidents and protect the drivers and passengers. If many more cars are not getting into accidents, then there would be more flexibility in automotive design.
Things could also be sped up if smart phones were retrofitted with the technology and installed in such a way as to interact with a car’s computers. The advantage of that approach is that these systems would be able to share information with smart phones being carried by pedestrians and bicyclists. In any case, it is estimated that it will take 15 years or more for about half the cars on the road to be equipped with the technology.
Gizmodo notes that the information sharing technology fits right into the concept of driverless cars, another technology that is right on the horizon. The DOT hopes to have the regulation in place by 2016.