NHTSA Endorses Vehicle-to Vehicle Tech for Future Cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to study what rules to apply to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technologies that could soon be required in new cars. The rules are expected to be ready by 2016, as NHTSA seeks to find more ways to reduce traffic collisions.

“V2V technology represents the next great advance in saving lives,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “This technology could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.”

The two V2V technologies that NHTSA is most interested in are Left Turn Assist and Intersection Movement Assist. The former would warn a driver not to turn left if there was an oncoming car that the driver might not have seen, while the latter would warn a driver to stop before entering an intersection if there was a high risk of a crash — for instance if another driver runs a red light. Together, NHTSA estimates those systems could prevent 592,000 car crashes and 1083 traffic deaths every year.

NHTSA confirmed earlier this year its plans to continue research into V2V technologies that could warn drivers of other cars’ positions. The plan comes after NHTSA and the University of Michigan conducted a real-world test of devices that tracked cars’ locations and provided warnings ahead of potential accidents. V2V systems work by transmitting a car’s position, speed, and heading to other vehicles over wireless networks. If another car detects that a collision is likely, it can warn the driver and, potentially, even apply the brakes.

NHTSA says that based on the results of the study, it could “eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles,” similar to how the government agency will soon require backup cameras in all new cars.