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Feds move forward on vehicle-to-vehicle networks

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration takes first steps toward mandating V2V technology on new vehicles.

By Douglas Newcomb Aug 19, 2014 1:59PM

Image by NHTSAFollowing a yearlong, 3,000-car trial of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking the first steps toward mandating the crash-prevention technology on new vehicles.

NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation have released a proposal and extensive research report on V2V technology that includes analysis of the yearlong field trial in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and other findings in the areas of technical feasibility, safety benefits, privacy, security and estimates on costs.

NHTSA said it would issue another report this month before DOT officials "begin working on a regulatory proposal" to be issued before President Obama leaves office in just over two years. NHTSA is also seeking public input on its research “to support the Department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles.”

According to transportation secretary Anthony Foxx, the technology has the potential to prevent up to 80 percent of accidents that don't involve drunk drivers or mechanical failure and significantly reduce roadway injuries and deaths from car collisions.

"Safety is our top priority, and V2V technology represents the next great advance in saving lives," Foxx said in a statement. "This technology could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether — saving lives, saving money and even saving fuel thanks to the widespread benefits it offers."

The V2V technology NHTSA tested uses radio signals to automatically transmit a vehicle's location, direction of travel and other information 10 times per second, plus it can receive corresponding information from other vehicles in the vicinity. Audible and visual warnings are given to drivers to alert them of potential hazards.

NHTSA’s latest report included two applications for the technology: Left Turn Assist (LTA) that alerts a driver to not turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) to indicate when it’s not safe to enter an intersection if the chances of colliding with another vehicles is high. NHTSA estimates that these two applications alone could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives each year.

“Put another way, V2V technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes that would otherwise occur by providing advance warning,” NHTSA said in a statement. “Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.”

Estimates on the cost of adding the technology to new cars range from $100 to $200. Of course, the full benefits of the technology wouldn’t kick in until the number of vehicles that have it onboard reaches critical mass. According to Qualcomm, it will take 15 years or more for 50 percent of the cars on U.S. roads to be equipped with the technology. But the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, an organization of public, private and academic groups, said that V2V benefits would appear once seven to 10 percent of vehicles in a given area are outfitted.

One factor that could throw a wrench in the gears of V2V communication is a fight in Washington, D.C., over the radio spectrum that the FCC originally set aside for use of the technology. Bills in the U.S. Senate and in the House have been introduced to open up the protected spectrum for public Wi-Fi and other uses.

“As we begin to move from the research lab to the actual deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology, it remains critically important that the FCC  preserve the ability to use the radio spectrum reserved for it,” Gloria Bergquist, VP of public affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a Washington, D.C., auto industry trade group, told MSN Autos. “We continue to urge the FCC not to compromise the use of the spectrum until it is definitively established that sharing will not interfere with the safety of the driving public. We need to safeguard the road safety spectrum, especially now that many leading automakers, supplier companies and universities are engaged in moving forward."

[Sources: NHTSA, USA Today]

Aug 19, 2014 4:13PM
more ways for big brother to stick his nose into our life and add more cost to cars which are way over priced now. It is bad enough that new cars have a black box in them now thanks to the insurance companies so if you are in a accident they can charge you more money what is new
Aug 19, 2014 4:33PM
Won't be long before that technology is used to send out traffic and speeding tickets also.
Aug 19, 2014 5:09PM
You mean a buzzer and warning lights will go off all the time while you drive? 

Ho-boy, this will drive people nuts!!  Especially when it malfunctions all the time. 

Look for people to find ways to disable this annoying piece of sh!t.

Aug 19, 2014 4:31PM
Aug 19, 2014 4:20PM
How many million cars will not be on the network since most people are holding on to their cars longer? Next question-What good will it do to have a couple hundred on the network and several million not on the network? What a futile and costly error.
Aug 19, 2014 4:41PM
yep, the cops will just have to sit back on the side of the road and jut drop your ticket in the mail, **** you big bro
Aug 19, 2014 4:32PM
hmm , you know back in the day (late 70's) I used to run around with a bunch of people that had CB radios and well some of the units weren't exactly legal (1000 watts on a 4 watt max frequency , a device nicknamed "boots") and well when the volkswagen rabbit came out it's electronic ignition was susceptible to that device and the engine would die if someone was running boots near it . I wonder how well this system will resist bleed over from devices such as a linear amplifier , could someone lock down an entire freeway I wonder ?
Aug 19, 2014 4:33PM
When they say it will cost $100-200, it means price will go up 10 times that. If they  can get all vehicles to communicate by wifi why can't humans all communicate by wifi? Just more big government adding extra BS. 
Aug 19, 2014 5:22PM

I don't buy new cars. Will never buy a new car. I wont even own a car with a black box, let alone this nonsense. 

Ill keep repairing my old car until I die. I don't care what it costs. Id rather take a bus than own a new car. Not to mention they are way overpriced anyway, mostly to support the ridiculous wages of execs.

End the Nanny State.

Aug 19, 2014 5:37PM
Once again... living proof that "Life imitates Art..." Just read Mr. Robert A. Heinlien's 1950s Sc-Fi novel called "The Four Day Weekend". His story captured the deadly consequences of allowing intelligent machines to control mass/private transportation. I read this over fifty years ago and thought it waaaay tooooo far fetched fro the genre. Boy...was I ever wrong!
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