NHTSA Moving Forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

In a few years, your car may be able to communicate with other cars on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that it plans to integrate this vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology into more and more vehicles going forward as a result of a year-long pilot program that has just finished up in Michigan.

This testing phrase began in August 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and incorporated 3000 vehicles on public roads to test V2V technology. These systems operate on short-distance Wi-Fi-based networks and allow vehicles to communicate with each other to transmit information about traffic jams as well as vehicle speed and position to help drivers avoid crashes. A car might warn its driver that another driver is running a red light, for instance. NHTSA emphasizes that V2V systems do not record vehicle tracking or any other personal information about the vehicle, meaning that vehicles would not be identifiable due to the many layers of security and privacy protection.

The next step will be a research report on this year-long safety study published by NHTSA with analysis of findings in the areas of feasibility, security, cost estimates, and projected safety benefits. Then, once this report is released, NHTSA will get to work on coming up with a proposal for regulations that would require V2V devices to be put in new vehicles at some point in the future.

At this early stage, the Department of Transportation is estimating that V2V has the potential to either avoid or mitigate 70 to 80 percent of vehicle crashes when the driver is unimpaired. Numerous automakers like Volvo, Lexus, and Ford have outlined their interest in V2V systems as part of their active safety research efforts. This type of vehicle technology could clearly make significant inroads in the area of vehicle safety, so we’ll see over the next few years how V2V systems propagate onto new vehicles.