The Department of Transportation and eight major automakers have spent a year testing vehicles equipped with dedicated short range communication (DSRC) systems in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but they have decided to extend the test for another six months, Automotive News reports.

With a focus on safety, DSRC is meant to reduce collisions using wifi-based vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems, which can alert drivers to red-light runners, blind intersections, vehicles in their blind spots, etc. DSRC-equipped vehicles have a multitude of alarms to alert drivers to danger, such as sirens, flashing lights or vibrating steering wheels or seats. The tests will help the DOT determine if the technology is ready for production, or if more research needs to be done.

As part of the test extension, the DOT and automakers will focus more heavily on DSRC with motorcycles and V2I communication. It is not mentioned which, if any, motorcycle manufacturers will be involved in the test. The DOT says that the six-month extension does not affect its plan to decide on the technology for light vehicles by the end of 2013, and heavy duty vehicles in 2014.

The test started last August with a fleet of nearly 3,000 vehicles from Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. The automakers came together to develop a standardized DSRC system through a group called the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership.

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