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  • General Motors V2V Technology. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
  • General Motors V2V Technology. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
  • General Motors V2V Technology. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
General Motors is working on a new vehicle communications system that could help avert up to 81 percent of crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The system uses small mobile devices, like smart phone applications, to gather information about the vehicle's surroundings. The system could alert the driver of stalled vehicles on the side of the road, drivers who are abruptly stopping, averse road conditions and even stop signs and stop lights before the hazards come into view. GM is already testing the system in two ways – with a small dash-mounted transponder and a smartphone application that integrates with the vehicle's in-dash display.

The system uses dedicated short-range communications, or DSRC, to transfer data between similar devices within a quarter-mile radius. In addition, the system can communicate with fixed radios connected to traffic lights or construction zones.

GM says that the tech could arrive in the automaker's vehicles in as little as a decade. If it works as promised, the technology could not only keep us out of a fender bender, but it could also alleviate traffic congestion and help drivers get where they're going more efficiently. We like the sound of that. Hit the jump for a video along with the press release.

Show full PR text
GM Develops Mobile Technology That Watches Road Ahead

Portable devices debut at Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress


System communicates with other vehicles, surrounding infrastructure and pedestrians to warn driver about potholes, construction zones and cyclists

GM researchers put the technology into small mobile devices and smartphone applications connected to vehicle display, for easy use

Technology expected to be available later this decade will be a significant leap in safety

DETROIT – New technology being developed by General Motors researchers could alert drivers of potentially dangerous driving situations in advance by using small, portable devices to create a wireless safety net.

These portable devices are designed to gather information from other vehicles and infrastructure to warn drivers about slowed or stalled vehicles, hard-braking drivers, slippery roads, sharp curves and upcoming stop signs and intersections.

Instead of minimizing a collision once it occurs, as most safety systems do today, these new technologies could help prevent crashes altogether. This technology, known as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems could help avert nearly 81 percent of all U.S. vehicle crashes, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"These safety systems could provide a significant leap in automotive safety, but their effectiveness goes up dramatically as more people use them," said Don Grimm, senior researcher for GM's Perception and Vehicle Control Systems group. "By putting the technology into portable devices, we could make this potentially life-saving technology widely available and more affordable."

GM has been testing the technology in two mobile platforms: a transponder about the size of a GPS unit and a smartphone application that can be tied to the vehicle's display unit. GM is l showcasing the technology this week at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Orlando.

The portable transponder has its own display screen. For the smartphone application, GM engineers can connect the smartphone to the vehicle's audio and video display systems to seamlessly integrate notifications into the automobile.

The embedded system, portable transponder and smartphone technologies all use Dedicated Short-Range Communications, or DSRC, to transfer data between devices and have a communication range of about one-quarter of a mile in all directions. The DSRC radio can send and receive messages with other vehicles in the area, as well as communicate with fixed radios connected to traffic signals or construction zones.

These systems can provide critical information using basic location data. For example, if the driver at the head of a string of vehicles applies the brakes, those that follow can automatically get an alert. Two vehicles approaching an intersection can warn each other before the drivers can see each other.
When fully connected to the automobile's computer system, these devices also can relay information already being collected by sensors throughout the automobile. The sensors that activate electronic stability control, for example, could alert drivers in other vehicles about hazardous road conditions ahead.

As an added benefit, the smartphones have the potential to be used by pedestrians and bicyclists, who could download a special application to let drivers know their location. The technology could help prevent vehicle-to-vehicle collisions and also reduce the number of collisions with pedestrians and bicyclists.

"The technology we're testing right now is a viable solution for providing crucial safety information to drivers," Grimm said. "Instead of just seeing what's right in front of them, drivers will be able to know about the truck a quarter-mile ahead that's stalled in their lane. Later this decade, smartphones, transponders and embedded systems could be working together to make our roadways safer."

GM is working on embedding these communications systems into new vehicles, but with the average age of U.S. vehicles at 10.2 years, according to Polk, GM researchers also have been focusing on finding ways to retrofit automobiles already on the road.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is great to see new technology like this developed in the US. Maybe it will even help reduce accidents.
      David Lloyd
      • 3 Years Ago
      If people would take full responsibility of their actions and not rely on a lawyer to blame others, we wouldn't need all these "safety" devices. People, please improve your driving skills or one day the car we "drive" will do all the driving for us!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not only will this technology help vehicles communicate with other vehicles, but it will obviously communicate with a central mainframe, probably located in some government location. Imagine, if your vehicles broadcasts its speed and GPS location to that central mainframe. The police will have an easy way to determine if you were speeding, if you ran a red light, etc. I mean look at OnStar and what it can do now. You can turn on and off your car from your cellphone, miles away. Imagine what will be possible in the future.
        • 3 Years Ago
        That train has already left the station. We might as well build upon the technology to get more good out of it.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've been protesting at my local 'occupy ( insert city name here )' and i notice that about half the people driving by are on their cell phones. We could make our roads far safer by actually enforcing the cell phone while driving laws. We do not need spy boxes installed in cars that will ( possibly falsely ) incriminate us, or phone home to HQ..
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Between cell phones, your internet connection, electronic banking, etc. this should be the least of your concerns. This system would not allow "them" access to any information that they can't already get, right now, today via the GPS enabled cell phones that millions of us carry. It would be far easier and more effective to spy using cell phones than with a system like this. It will be 20 years or more before this is in a meaningful number of vehicles.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      I bet your insurance company will like this technology when they find out how well it can tattle on you. Good intentions, but this will ultimately be a spy box. No thank you, GM.
      Rick Stroud Auto Inc
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is fascinating tech to me. But I have to say it scares me at the same time. All that monitoring is very Big Brother if you will. Still It's pretty cool. I do question whether this will make driving rather stressful. I found as I was watching the video and listening to the computer, that I felt my stress level increase at the warnings given by the computer system. I wonder if anyone else felt the same. I'm certain this is a long way off and will be under a lot of testing.
      You guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      You just need to teach people HOW TO DRIVE. Fat Bessy or Primadonna Patty need to be heavily prosecuted for driving while putting their makeup on, texting their friends, eating a handful of fries and slurping a diet coke (I have, in fact, seen this). This should be HEAVILY discouraged in driver's education courses and prosecuted aggressively, including revocation of privileges if it happens once. If you get caught doing this in Germany, they take away your driving privileges FOREVER.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        Driver training is very, very, important, but the whole "we don't need safety features we just need driver training" attitude is not the right one. We need both. 1. You will NEVER eleminate distratacted/incompetatant drivers. So just put that notion out of your head. Once you accept that simple truth, the next logial step is to use technology to mitigate the consequences of their actions. 2 The "human factor" will always be there. Mistakes will be made. Technology can also mitigate the consequesnces of honest mistakes. We can learn a lot from the world of aviation and it's impressive safety record. Rigerous training and technology = Safety.
          • 3 Years Ago
          True, pilots are highly trained. But to certain standards. Knowledge of how and why a plane flies, all kinds of weather conditions, communications, etc. Sure, there's the human factor, mistakes here and there, but that's relative to those standards. Driving in America? no standards. Mistakes made? Not really, if you are clueless or don't care, then it's not a mistake. Distracted, incompetent? it's all accepted here. If there were (much higher) standards that made sense that you needed to meet to be allowed to drive in public, and that will never happen (too much money at stake), then there would be at least a third fewer drivers on the road and it would be a much "safer" drive, whatever that is.
      • 3 Years Ago
      TCAS : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_Collision_Avoidance_System .
      • 3 Years Ago
      What next cars that drive them selves?
      • 3 Years Ago
      When I first saw the Title, I was think about "You MOTHERF@K@# HOW THE @#(#* YOU DARE TO CUT ME OFF! YOU #($ #($(%*()#($ @(*()$# $)(*!^@&*#& @&*(#!)(!@*)$&*#&$*(@&)(!@#* @9*&#@*(^$!&*^$@ *(@#&$!@(# (). Glad GM is not thinking about doing that :)
      Travis Miles
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hasn't Ford been developing this technology for years prior.
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