Following its September presentation of guidelines for the safe testing and deployment of self-driving cars, the Department of Transportation proposed a ruling on Tuesday that would advance the deployment of connected vehicle technologies.
The DOT proposed requiring all new cars and light trucks to be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology, specifically dedicated short-range communication systems so that cars can be in constant communication with those nearby, sharing data on vehicle position and speed, proximity and whether any other obstacles in the immediate area pose a threat.
Situations where the technology could help, for example, include determining whether it’s safe to overtake on a two-lane road (potential head-on collision) or make a turn across the path of oncoming traffic. The technology could also tell a car and its driver whether a car approaching an intersection appears to be on a collision course, for example about to run a red light.
Audi Traffic Light Information System, Las Vegas
Separately, the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration plans to soon issue guidelines for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication, which will help transportation planners integrate the technologies to allow vehicles to communicate with roadway infrastructure such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones to improve mobility, reduce congestion and improve safety. Audi has already introduced the technology in its cars, specifically a red light countdown feature.
V2V and V2I communication technology is something the DOT has been considering for some time, because of the potential to reduce the number of car crashes. The technology is also seen as a key requirement for self-driving cars.
The proposed rule will now be up to public discussion. Under the proposal, automakers would be required to equip half of all new cars with the technology within two years, and all new cars within four years, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration implements it.