The federal government is inching closer to mandating cars have the ability to communicate with each other, in a move regulators say could reduce crashes while still protecting motorists' personal information.

"By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety." – David Friedman

Called vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), the technology would use radio frequencies to communicate potential dangers to drivers, and the Transportation Department has begun the rule-making process of possibly making it required equipment in cars, though it could take years for a new law to take effect.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pointed to two potential features that would use vehicle communication to improve safety: a left-turn assist and a system that detects movements in intersections, which could prevent as many as 592,000 crashes annually and possibly save 1,083 lives.

"By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in a statement.
NHTSA also said vehicle communication could be used to assist in blind-spot detection, forward-collision alarms and warnings not to pass, though many of these technologies are available in today's cars using other technologies, like radar.

Mindful of recent "hacking" incidents involving major retailers, websites and identity theft, NHTSA said the data transmitted would only be used for safety purposes, and notes the systems being considered would contain "several layers" of security and privacy protection.

The agency also said the potential law would not add to automakers' liability, as the new technology would help drivers make better decisions, rather than take control away from them.

NHTSA calculated the added technology and equipment could add as much as $350 to the cost of a new car in 2020, including $18 for fuel costs and $13 for communications ability. The agency projects costs could drop to as low as $209 by 2058 as the technology becomes more widely used and accepted.

NHTSA's announcement spurred a positive reaction from the industry, though lobbying groups cautioned that certain airwaves should remain reserved for vehicle-to-vehicle communication in the early stages. The Federal Communications Commission has considered opening up the frequency for other purposes.

"The release by NHTSA of its proposed rule on vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology holds the promise of being one of the most significant advances in driving safety in this generation," the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in statement.

"...We continue to urge the FCC not to compromise the use of the spectrum until it is definitively established that sharing will not interfere with the safety of the driving public."

V2V communications technology holds the promise of being one of the most significant advances in driving safety in this generation.

Though they've received increased attention recently, connected vehicles are not new, and car companies have been working together and separately for years to advance the technology. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute completed a pilot program involving 3,000 connected vehicles. During the 15-month test, more than 12 million safety messages were sent, and 60,000 interactions between the vehicles were recorded. Future projects could see up to 20,000 connected cars being tested across Michigan.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is one element of efforts by regulators, automakers and safety advocates to reduce accidents, which have fallen from 52,627 fatalities in 1970 to 32,479 fatalities in 2011, NHTSA says. Companies are also looking at vehicle-to-grid communication, which would allow cars to communicate with the roads and infrastructure around them.

There's also autonomous driving, which is being used on the road in mild forms in features like adaptive cruise control and automatic braking in some high-end cars today. Not part of the potential law, some autonomous (the Translogic episode below features both technologies) vehicles – like those being developed by Google – would allow cars to run without driver interaction.

CES 2014 Autonomous Vehicles: TRANSLOGIC 147


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  • 32 Comments
      Petrol
      • 4 Months Ago

      "while still protecting motorists' personal information." Sure, NSA ahoy.

      SloopJohnB
      • 4 Months Ago

      HOw long before someone hacks the code for danger danger Will Robinson in order to clear the way ahead?   Much like that 90degree twin X and K band transmitter I had years ago to trigger radar detectors and watch people move out of the left hand laneā€¦and cops use those transmitters in VA to decoy people that break VA's no radar detector law.

        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Theoretically you can hack satellites, cellphones, TVs, thermostats.........has that been happening a lot?
          Ryan
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen

          You have heard about the shenanigans the NSA has been up to right?

          Anyway, I imagine you've seen this video right? 

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqe6S6m73Zw

          Now looking at that video, you can see how impractical it is to hack into the car as you needed to wire a device into the car. What V2V brings to the table is a wireless interface to the vehicle. If you listen to guys in the video, they point out how insecure the communication between components are within the vehicle. V2V needs to have super tight security otherwise I'm walking everywhere.




      certainsnark
      • 4 Months Ago
      " The agency projects costs could drop to as low as $209 by 2058 as the technology becomes more widely used and accepted."
      This is the most useless statistic I have read in my entire life.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 4 Months Ago

      This will be a godsend for motorcyclists. Too many have been run over because drivers didn't see them.

      Basil Exposition
      • 4 Months Ago

      Yay! More federal government mandates!

        icemilkcoffee
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Basil Exposition

        They have been doing a great job making cars safer. What is the problem?

          Winnie Jenkems
          • 4 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee

          also bloated, bland, more expensive and ugly

          carguy1701
          • 4 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee

          It doesn't address the root of the problem, plus it will not eliminate all accidents.

          space
          • 4 Months Ago
          @icemilkcoffee

          because what if I want to build my own freaking car? It'd have to have all that crap in it.

      carguy1701
      • 4 Months Ago

      No, just no.

      The problem is inadequate driver training.

        Db
        • 4 Months Ago
        @carguy1701

        The real problem is too many foolish drivers. Whether you can train the "fool" out of a driver is questionable, but I have to agree that genuine, comprehensive training might be a start in the right direction. 

        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @carguy1701

        There are 50 states and each and every one fails at developing smart drivers, so we can safely come to conclusion that at this point and time we can not teach people how to be better drivers.


        We can ignore the problem or we can use tech to solve it...................hmmmmm.

      mikeam91
      • 4 Months Ago
      My car already has all these features, but it uses radar. I don't understand why the gov't would require the tech to use radio frequencies. Why not just require radar monitoring, which is already available in the market, on every car? Plus with radar there is no privacy concern, so my only rational conclusion is the NSA would like to steal the data and needs transmission in order to do so.
      spa2nky1
      • 4 Months Ago

      It's cool, just add more cost to every new vehicle. I know the technology will get cheaper at high volumes, but seriously...abs, traction control, and soon to include backup cameras...I don't care to pay for any of it, and have been doing pretty fine without them for many many years!

        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @spa2nky1

        But if cars will be able to communicate with each other as prevent a collision that will reduce the need to add additional safety tech. Right now you can get a car with what 9 airbags? They just added a knee airbag, prevention will reduce the need for additional tech and years down the road maybe even removal of all that outdated safety tech.

          Larry Litmanen
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen

          Carguy, normally i'd ask you peed in your cereal this morning, but since it is late i guess who diluted your soup this late at night.

          1TallTXn
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen

          It *could* prevent the need for additional safety features, but it won't.
          Until *every* vehicle is driven by a computer talking to all the other computer drivers, there will continue to be crashes so there is still the need for occupant safety.
          Even then, I see computers fail far too frequently for this to remove collisions entirely.

        mikeam91
        • 4 Months Ago
        @spa2nky1
        Your car should have abs and traction control because that means you're less likely to smash into me. That back-up camera means you're less likely to plow over my kid walking down the street. Maybe you'd be fine without the abs, traction control and back-up camera but judging from statistics and the horrible drivers I see on the road everyday, these technologies and laws are seriously needed. Not to mention the need for future mandates like blind-spot detection. If I had a quarter for every dummy that swerved into my lane without looking I'd be a very rich man.
      johnb
      • 4 Months Ago

      insurance companies love it.  lowers payouts without charging people less for car insurance. 

        Larry Litmanen
        • 4 Months Ago
        @johnb
        Right now to enter car insurance business you need a LOT of money because you will have to pay money for existing crashes, that is called a barrier for new companies.
        If however there will be fewer crashes more companies will be able to enter the field and displace older companies with legacy costs. 
        I live in NYC and really Geico is the only game in town because no one wants to risk entering a city like NYC where bumper to bumper that can cost a few K to repair are very common.
        If you can prevent some of those costly accidents now the city become much more attractive to other insurance companies.
      Bret Frohwein
      • 4 Months Ago

      I guess I'll be keeping my current car forever... I won't be able to afford one soon...

      svntsvn
      • 4 Months Ago
      From my cold dead hands will the government take control of my steering wheel.Next thing you know, dropping a deuce@ home will be on drone cam for the government measuring the methane level detriment to the environment and you will get a fine in the mail. Similar to electronic tolling, right? 
      Long live old cars.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 4 Months Ago

      Uhhhh... no.

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