Department of Transportation vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) programEnlarge Photo
Continuing research into autonomous vehicles won't just benefit the autonomous vehicles themselves, but all manner of other vehicles too. One particular area of research concerns vehicle-to-vehicle technology (V2V), and it's an area the Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now giving serious consideration.
NHTSA has released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking into the technology, alongside a report detailing comprehensive research into the subject. It includes analysis of the agency's research findings in areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, as well as preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits. Privacy and security issues will be of concern to many—particularly unease over how far vehicle data might be shared—but the agency's main concern is safety.
"Safety is our top priority," explains U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, "and V2V technology represents the next great advance in saving lives." The technology isn't about helping people survive accidents, an area which automakers continually strive to improve, but helping them avoid crashes altogether. Cars using vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology can be in constant communication with those nearby, sharing data on vehicle position and speed, proximity and whether any other obstacles in the nearby area pose a threat.
Two particular safety applications, Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA), could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives per year, NHTSA data shows. The two technologies are designed to prevent those typical four-way intersection collisions before they even happen, with drivers warned about others running red lights or preventing unsighted cars turning left across high-speed opposing traffic. Various other applications, from those preventing forward collision and blind spot accidents to stop light warnings, would give drivers all the data they need to make safer decisions.
"By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. He says the technology is "ready to move toward implementation" and that the report highlights the benefits and the work the DoT and NHTSA are doing to bring it to market. The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking will seek public input on the findings. From there, the technology could progress as quickly as manufacturers and local authorities are able to implement it.