We first showed you Ford's commitment to "intelligent" vehicles that talk to one another to avoid accidents (Vehicle-to-Vehicle or V2V) a few months ago, but today we got to experience the technology first hand. Ford's V2V setup utilizes an FCC secured WiFi signal which allows cars to communicate within short ranges. V2V enabled vehicles can provide drivers with a collision avoidance warning based on another car's position or behavior, well before the driver may even be aware of the other vehicle. The alert is simply an aggressive tone combined with a strip of flashing red LED lights on top of the dash that notifies the driver to danger.

For example, one of the scenarios has us blinded at an intersection where a car is going to run a red light. Because we couldn't see beyond the semi-truck blocking our view (and neither can any radar-based system) V2V is the only way the driver could become aware of this dangerous situation ahead of time.



Currently, Ford is only using V2V as a driver alert system rather than, say, automatically applying your vehicle's brakes for you to avoid a collision. It's estimated that V2V could help prevent 81% of reported crashes involving unimpaired drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A few ways Ford plans to use the system to increase driver safety and comfort are by offering intersection assistance, alternative routing--which adds some "green" potential by allowing the car to suggest the most efficient route--and lane-passing assistance. Lane-passing assistance works best on a two-lane road when you can't see around the car to be passed (think hilly countryside). If another car is coming atop the hill at conditions determined to be unsafe, the system will alert the driver.

Alternative routing would take place when cars ahead experience congestions. Acting like traffic probes, the V2V communication could reroute drivers around the mess. We think this would be perfect in dense cities.

Of course, these systems are only in research stages and collaboration between automakers and governments would have to take place. But if the numbers are correct -- and if fuel and insurance prices continue to go up -- the system would pay for itself overtime.


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