While EVs and plug-in hybrids may be drawing most of the headlines these days, there's another tech development on the horizon that could bring bigger changes for drivers -- and the planet. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology is a promising, affordable solution to many of today's transportation problems, and Ford is taking some V2V-ready vehicles on the road to show just what they can do.
V2V systems use a network of radar and sensors to "check in" with other vehicles and infrastructure elements (like traffic lights). The goal is to detect potential collisions, congestion hotspots, and other hazards. If fast-moving vehicles edge too close to one another, an alarm notifies the drivers; if too many vehicles are stacked up at an intersection, the V2V system can encourage commuters to pick a less-crowded route.
What's interesting about V2V is that, at heart, it's simply an extension of existing technology. For example, today's car shoppers can find a range of models with collision avoidance systems that put on the brakes when an accident is imminent -- even if the driver doesn't notice. V2V takes that idea a step further and allows vehicles to "talk" to one another. In doing so, safety improves exponentially: with V2V, it's not just one car against the world, but a group of cars working together to move drivers and passengers around.
The other important thing about V2V tech is that it's affordable, and variations of it can theoretically be installed on nearly any car. Long before everyone finds themselves driving EVs home to their robot butlers, many of us could benefit from V2V devices -- either installed on new models or as aftermarket devices.
If all this sounds a bit familiar, it should. The Department of Transportation recently announced plans to test V2V tech in six cities across America. And earlier this year, we told you about Ford's plans to develop V2V-equipped cars of its own. Ford has made progress on that front, and now the company is taking its products on the road, sharing findings with folks from the auto, science, and tech sectors in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The goal of Ford's grand tour isn't just to show off what it's done, but to convince others of the technology's benefits and to push for standards so that vehicles of all types can talk to one another down the road. In the best of all possible worlds, widespread adoption of V2V technology could help drivers avoid nearly 81% of all light-vehicle crashes and reduce traffic congestion, putting more money in drivers' wallets and less CO2 into the atmosphere.
For more details, feel free to scan Ford's official press release below.
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Ford “Talking” Vehicles Give Californians a Peek at More Sustainable Driving with Fewer Crashes, Reduced Congestion
-- Ford takes its industry-first intelligent vehicle tour to California’s biggest markets to demonstrate how researchers are leading development of a more sustainable future transportation system
-- Ford will demonstrate Intelligent vehicles that use Wi-Fi and GPS to wirelessly talk to each other to help reduce crashes and the ever-increasing time drivers spend in cars
Intelligent vehicles could potentially help in preventing 81 percent of all police-reported light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Report
-- Traffic congestion continues to worsen in American cities, annually wasting nearly 3.9 billion gallons of fuel and costing the average Los Angeles commuter an additional $1,464 a year, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI) 2010 Urban Mobility Report; that figure is likely higher today due to higher costs of fuel
-- Ford’s broader sustainability plan includes a commitment to delivering top fuel economy performance, with at least 12 Ford vehicles – including four 40-mpg vehicles – offering best-in-class fuel economy
LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 25, 2011 – As Ford’s fuel-efficient vehicles gain momentum in California, company researchers are showcasing what could be next – intelligent vehicles that wirelessly talk to each other to reduce crashes and the billions of gallons of gas wasted in congestion each year.