The US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today a proposed rule that would require all automakers to equip light-duty cars and trucks with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications equipment. The equipment would have to follow communication standards in order to ensure compatibility between vehicles and infrastructure. The rule, if put into effect on the proposed year of 2019, would set 2023 as the deadline for compliance, with a phase-in of the new rule starting in 2021.

DOT believes V2V technology has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of crashes each year. Such technology could be used to warn drivers of vehicles that they don't see, such as when making a left turn or trying to overtake on a two-lane highway. It could also reduce crashes by supplementing semi-autonomous technologies like automatic emergency braking with more information. V2V communication will be very helpful in bringing fully autonomous cars to market, but the DOT feels the technology needs to become ubiquitous to reach its potential. Having a legal requirement would ensure enough cars had the proper equipment to be effective.

The new rule, aside from providing legal incentive to speed up V2V development, would also help standardize the communication equipment. Under the proposal, all V2V communication would take place over dedicated short range communication frequencies and designate what information would be sent. That information would include details on speed, location, direction of travel, and possibly inputs from the driver and status of the engine and transmission. All of the information would be secured, though none of it would include personal information or be tied to an individual.

Interestingly, this proposed rule will not require car companies to implement safety features that use V2V communications on new vehicles. The organization says that simply getting the technology in place will allow companies to develop safety features on their own that consumers will want, which is probably true. It's also possible that only requiring communication capabilities will make it easier and cheaper for car companies to achieve compliance. Even so, the DOT estimates V2V technology will add about $341-350 per new car in 2020.

The rule has not gone into effect yet, and the DOT will be taking comments on the proposal for 90 days. If you're interested in having your voice heard, you can comment by going to http://www.safercar.gov/v2v.

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