Many of the technological advances in car manufacturing are focused on improving safety and saving lives. One of today’s most promising technologies is vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which enables cars to communicate with each other by sensing potential auto accidents and other dangerous situations and giving drivers more reaction time, according to an article recently published in the New York Times.
Vehicle-to-vehicle technology, or V2V, is currently being tested in a government-sponsored pilot program through the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Transmitters have been placed in 3,000 vehicles driven by volunteers. The devices can transmit messages about the vehicle’s speed, direction, braking status and other information and retrieve the same data from surrounding cars.
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that V2V could prevent eight out of every 10 traffic crashes involving unimpaired drivers, the Times said.
V2V Expands on Current Safety Features
Current safety features, such as self-park or rearview cameras, work with sensors that monitor what they can spot on the road around them. However, because they only see within a restricted scope, the safety benefits of these features are limited.
In contrast, V2V technology would alert drivers of conditions beyond the reach of those sensors, such as when a vehicle further up the road suddenly hits the brakes. In those situations, the vehicle would issue a loud tone and show an image on the rearview mirror, alerting the driver to a sudden change in traffic conditions.
In a recent DOT report, two V2V applications were shown to be yielding positive test results:
- Left Turn Assist (LTA) – Many car accidents are the result of careless left turns, when drivers don’t have enough time to safely clear the intersection or fail to yield the right of way. LTA warns drivers when it is unsafe to turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle.
- Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) – This application issues a warning to drivers if it perceives conditions in an intersection that have a high probability of causing a collision.
The DOT estimates that LTA and IMA alone could prevent as many as 592,000 crashes and save more than 1,000 lives if required in all future cars and trucks.
V2V can provide other information to drivers, such as how many seconds until a light turns red. It can also survey the road ahead to inform drivers if it is safe to pass on a two-lane road – a common cause of head-on collisions.
Future studies will evaluate how V2V could also be used to prevent pedestrian accidents, the report continued. Devices (such as mobile phones) equipped with V2V could emit a safety signal to alert drivers of a pedestrian in harm’s way. Automakers are already experimenting with vehicle-to pedestrian technology (V2P) that would alert both pedestrian and driver of a possible collision.
To learn more about V2V, click here.
Of course, technology cannot replace using good judgment. If these technologies are to prevent collisions, drivers must heed the warnings that they provide. Even if this technology flourishes, it will still be important for drivers to never drink and drive, stay off their phones and minimize distractions and avoid aggressive behaviors such as speeding, tailgating and making dangerous passes.