The latest development in auto technology could provide a future of less car crashes and safer roadways.
Over the past decade, researchers have developed a way for vehicles to communicate or “talk” to each other. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working on the technology with eight automakers including: Honda, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
The Transportation Research Center in East Liberty is testing and looking into this new technology.
The research center’s Manager of Project Operations Ken Webster talks with Forever Young host John McMackin about how this technology works.
The new technology is called vehicle-to-vehicle communication (pictured), or V2V, which communicates with other cars through wireless networks. Red lights and warning sounds alert the driver of other vehicles braking suddenly, entering their blind spots, or other situations of a potential collision.
For instance, a driver could be driving through an intersection and not see the vehicle to his left or right that is about to run a red light and cause a crash. These lights and warning sounds would alert the driver to brake before a collision occurred.
It will be hard to track just what kind of impact the safety benefits of V2V will have on the roadways until the majority of cars on the road are able to communicate with each other. It could be at least ten years by the time government standards are set and automakers can move forward to make the technology readily available. To work a new technology into an entire population of cars takes about 30 years.
More advanced versions of V2V can actually take control of the car to prevent an accident by applying brakes when a driver reacts too slowly to a warning. In the long-term, this type of technology could form a kind of autopilot where the vehicle drives itself.
Battelle researchers are participating in a U.S. Department of Transportation project to see how V2V technology can make vehicles and roadways safer. These researchers are focusing on its potential for buses right now. They are testing ideas using COTA buses and rental cars in parking lots and other off-road areas.
The federal transportation agency reports V2V has the potential to prevent more than three-quarters of the 5.4 million crashes on U.S. roads every year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study this month that shows crash claims among owners of cars with the new technology were 14 percent lower than those who didn’t use the warning systems.