Feds put 'talking car' proposal on the fast track

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A federal agency believes that talking cars could lead to safer roads in the future. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing to equip future cars and light trucks with communication technology that would alert drivers to the speed, direction, braking status and lane status of the vehicles around them. It’s called vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the pursuit of V2V communication earlier this year.

NHTSA published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on July 9, and expects it to land at the Office of the Secretary of Transportation in short order. The agency intends to publish its proposal in mid-August. V2V is not a final rule at this stage.

According to an abstract provided by NHTSA, “V2V communications uses onboard dedicated short-range radio communication devices to broadcast messages about a vehicle’s speed, heading, brake status, and other information to other vehicles and receive the same information from the messages, with extended range and ‘line-of-sight’ capabilities.”

“V2V’s enhanced detection distance and ability to ‘see’ around corners or ‘through’ other vehicles helps V2V-equipped vehicles uniquely perceive some threats and warn their drivers accordingly.”

NHTSA says V2V is intended to warn drivers about imminent collisions and would not automatically steer or brake a vehicle.

The NHTSA proposal identifies cars and light trucks as the intended recipients, but the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration is currently researching “unique aspects” of V2V technology for commercial trucks and buses.

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