Feds pursue vehicles that 'talk' to one another

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 2/3/2014

The feds say cars that “talk” to one another will make highways safer, but are U.S. roadways ready for vehicle-to-vehicle communication? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has taken the first steps in a complex process to enable vehicle-to-vehicle technology in new cars and light trucks.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the measures on Monday, Feb. 3.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, known as V2V, would allow vehicles to send and receive communications about speed and vehicle position and alert drivers of pending collisions, bad lane changes, dangerous maneuvers or other scenarios.

NHTSA is quick to point out that the systems would not drive, steer or brake a vehicle.

“The safety applications currently being developed provide warnings to drivers so that they can prevent imminent collisions, but do not automatically operate any vehicle systems, such as braking or steering,” NHTSA says on its website.

Foxx stated that vehicle-to-vehicle communication will build on safety gains such as seat belts and airbags.

NHTSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is targeting only new cars and light trucks in the V2V proposal, which will take months, and even years, to play out.

As NHTSA develops V2V for cars and light-duty trucks, the agency continues to pursue proposals for heavy commercial vehicles such as rollover stability control and lane-departure systems.

OOIDA says technology does not take the place of a qualified, trained professional behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.

“Heavy-duty trucks may not be part of the V2V proposal, but that said, there are a lot of other things that NHTSA is doing on the technology side to pull the driver away from control of a truck,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley.

“Connected vehicles have an opportunity to provide more information to the driver so they can make driving decisions. But it’s a different thing when the technology takes over for the driver or becomes so omnipresent that it is looked upon as a replacement for safe driving.”

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