The US government said it is taking a first step toward necessitating future cars and light trucks be equipped with technology that enables them to ‘talk to each other.’
The Obama Administration referred to a research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report suggested if such systems were made mandatory, almost 600,000 left-turn and intersection crashes could be easily avoided. Ensuring such collisions do not take place, should save about 1,083 lives and prevent countless injuries. The administration has begun drafting rules to require the technology in new vehicles.
How will the cars communicate with each other? At present, there are multiple collision avoidance systems. But they primarily rely on sensors fitted in the car to sense roads and signs. These sensors measure speed and distance and warn the driver of an impending collision if proper steps are not taken. Companies like Volvo even have strong braking systems that prevent trucks moving at high speed from colliding with vehicles that are in front of them.
But, these sensors still do not ‘interact’ with the sensors fitted in other cars. Hence, there is a lot of chatter, but zero communication. The Obama administration wants to ensure cars not only listen, but talk actively with other cars and create a homogeneous network of cars that are constantly ‘in touch’ with the car in front and the one at the back, as well as those in either lane to maintain optimum distance.
Unfortunately, such a network is still has a long way to go. The technology will have to be universal and obviously brand-neutral, and the system will use a radio signal to continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed and other information. Similarly equipped cars and trucks would receive the same information, and their computers would alert drivers to an impending collision, reported NDTV.
A car would essentially “see” when another car or truck equipped with the same technology was about to run a red light, even if that vehicle were hidden around a corner, reported The Walt Street Journal. A car would also know when a car several vehicles ahead in a line of traffic had made a sudden stop and alert the driver even before the brake lights of the vehicle directly in front illuminate. The technology that the Obama administration is discussing works up to about 300 yards (275 meters) away.
The administration is hoping communities will choose to invest in the technology, and roadways and traffic lights could start talking to cars, as well as send warnings of traffic congestion or road hazards ahead in time for drivers to take a safe and time-saving detour.
Interestingly, the Government sees the two technologies as synergistic and might be expecting them to be cross-operational too.
Speaking about the same, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said,
“This technology could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether – saving lives, saving money and even saving fuel thanks to the widespread benefits it offers.”
Of course, these are all preliminary talks. Ironically as the tech giants are experimenting with driver-less cars, our governments are still struggling to introduce legislation.
[Image Credit | The Volt Report]