8/19/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

U.S. Outlines Promise, Hurdles of Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a lengthy analysis of vehicle-to-vehicle technology and its potential value in reducing crashes and fatalities.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a lengthy analysis of vehicle-to-vehicle technology and its potential value in reducing crashes and fatalities.

NHTSA says a year-long test of some 3,000 V2V-equipped vehicles in Ann Arbor, Mich., last year shows the technology works on real roads with real drivers. But its 317-page report cites a long list of remaining unresolved issues that includes test procedures, system security, liability, data privacy, signal interference and consumer acceptance.

V2V systems will enable nearby vehicles to swap information about their speed, direction and location several times per second. Such information can be used to warn drivers of hazards, including those they can't see. NHTSA estimates the necessary V2V hardware will cost about $350 per vehicle.

The agency aims to unveil a final proposed rule for V2V systems by 2017 that would mandate the technology and set communication requirements. But the rule would leave it to carmakers to decide which features to offer.

The agency's report cites the benefits of two likely V2V features. One would warn drivers if they don't have sufficient time to make a left turn against oncoming traffic. A second system would signal a driver to stop at an intersection if it detects a cross-traffic vehicle that is about to run a red light.

The report's rough estimates figure those two features would prevent 25,000-592,000 crashes and 49-1,083 deaths per year if the entire U.S. vehicle fleet was equipped with V2V technologies.

Such systems will work only if all vehicles regardless of their manufacturer can "talk" to each other seamlessly. NHTSA notes that carmakers have been collaborating on the basics to enable such connectivity for seven years through the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership. CAMP members include Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.