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Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Gets a Big Thumbs-Up

Study participants are overwhelmingly positive about connected-car crash-avoidance technology in NHSTA tests.

By Douglas Newcomb May 24, 2012 12:04PM

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication. Image by NHTSA.People wanted to stay connected in their cars, and not just by technologies like OnStar and Bluetooth hands-free. They also want their cars connected to other cars on the road to potentially avoid crashing into each other.


At least that’s the conclusion the Transportation Department reached after surveying participants in “driver acceptance clinics” that took place from August 2011 to January 2012 in six cities across the country. The Connected Drive Clinics were designed to help the federal government and its auto industry partners gauge how drivers would respond to communication-based vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) safety warnings.


Of the 688 participants, a whopping 82 percent said they would like V2V technology in their daily driver, and more than 90 percent said they though safety features of the technology could enhance real-world driving situations and possibly help avoid accidents.


With this statistical thumbs-up, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Connected Vehicle program will move into its next phase this summer. But consumers will have to wait somewhat longer for the technology to be included in production cars. With all the fuss that the feds are making about the distractions that smartphones can cause in cars, these connected consumer devices may provide part of the solution. More on that in a bit.


In the next stage, which will take place on roads in and around Ann Arbor, Mich., NHTSA and the Research and Innovation Technology Administration will test 3,000 vehicles equipped with V2V crash-avoidance technologies. Drivers will receive warnings if a car ahead has suddenly stopped, or a “do not pass” alert if oncoming traffic makes it unsafe to do so. The info the feds gather will determine whether research on V2V technology gets a green light, and will affect future rules on the technology.


Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen are working with NHTSA to developing V2V communication. A GM spokesman familiar with the program said the Transportation Department could implement a ruling by as early as next year should the second-phase testing go as planned -- and is as successful as the first one. The GM spokesman also hinted that the benefit for automakers that include the technology in cars could be higher crash-safety ratings.


Of course, it would take a long time for all cars on the road to become equipped with embedded V2V technology -- and even longer to implement vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology. Meanwhile, GM has been working on allowing a connected device that many drivers already carry with them no matter the age of their vehicles (a smartphone) to allow V2V communication. And Honda recently revealed how it could link cars to the cloud so that they can communicate with each other to avoid traffic jams, and ostensibly collisions.


Judging from consumer reaction to NHTSA’s initial trials, drivers want this technology. Now it’s up to automakers to deliver it.


[Source: Motor Trend]

2Comments
May 25, 2012 3:17AM
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So why are they still making cars with steering wheels?
May 25, 2012 2:08AM
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How much is this technology going to add to the price of a vehicle?  The more the government mandates, the more out of reach a vehicles becomes to the average family.
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