A major technique taught in drivers education is to drive defensively, which means one should always anticipate dangerous situations, including other drivers’ mistakes. But, this technique may soon be a thing of the past, with cars getting smarter; advanced safety features like blind spot monitoring, rear backup sensors, and brake assist programs are already appearing in some vehicles. Now taken a step further, vehicle-to-vehicle communication may be soon be on the horizon for production cars, and locals in Brooklyn, Mich., get to test these smart cars out first. The vehicle-to-vehicle wireless communication technology’s aim is to help avoid crashes by allowing vehicles to communicate with other nearby vehicles in order to prevent crashes. When danger is imminent, the vehicle alerts the driver of the risk of crashing or other driving hazards. This new development has undergone extensive testing, but is still nowhere close to real-world testing. That’s where the Connected Vehicle Drive Clinics come into play. The purpose of the clinics is to help the federal government and auto industry get an idea of how drivers respond to communication-safety based warnings. The first in a series of six clinics, the Michigan International Speedway will serve as a testing ground along with other cities that will host the trials: Dallas, San Francisco, Orlando, Brainerd, Minn., and Blacksburg, Va. As for gathering drivers, approximately 100 local drivers in each of the cities will be recruited. Each clinic will have 16 cars that are equipped with the advanced technology on hand, and drivers will conduct the tests on a controlled area around the track designed to simulate real-world real roadways and intersections, complete with temporary traffic signals. The Department of Transportation is making all this possible, and hopes to receive helpful feedback in order to provide the utmost safety in vehicles. After all, we know it can be a scary world out there on the road, and vehicle-to-vehicle tech may allow us to drive a little more at peace—or not. As with all things technological, there are always glitches. What do you think of vehicle-to-vehicle communication? Are all these advanced safety features creating worse drivers by making them rely solely on the technology?
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