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Regulators Want to Hear What You Think of V2V Technology

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to hear what you think of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology as part of its latest rulemaking effort on V2V for light-duty vehicles.  

"By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. "V2V technology is ready to move toward implementation and this report highlights the work NHTSA and the Department of Transportation are doing to bring this technology and its great safety benefits into the [U.S.] light vehicle fleet."

V2V technology has the potential to be fused with existing vehicle safety features to further improve the effectiveness of many crash avoidance safety systems currently being developed and implemented in the vehicle fleet and serve as a building block for a driverless vehicle, according to NHTSA.

Safety Applications

NHTSA recently announced that its two-year pilot test of 3,000 cars proved that the transmission of basic data between cars, like speed and position, improves the safety of all vehicles on the road

The safety applications currently being developed provide warnings to drivers so that they can prevent imminent collisions, but they don't automatically operate any vehicle systems such as braking or steering. 

A supporting research report claims that V2V’s safety benefits in two 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.

How does it work? LTA warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction and IMA warns them if it is not safe to enter an intersection due to a high probability of colliding with one or more vehicles. Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.

In practice, V2V communication can give drivers 360-degree situational awareness to address potential crash situations – including, for example, those moments when you need to decide if it's safe to pass on a two-lane road, make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic, or when a vehicle approaching at an intersection appears to be on a collision course. In those situations, V2V communications can detect threats hundreds of yards from other vehicles that cannot be seen, often in situations in which on-board sensors alone cannot detect the threat.

Don't worry, says NHTSA, V2V technology doesn't involve the exchange or recording of personal information, nor does it track vehicle movements. The information sent between vehicles doesn't identify them, merely contains basic safety data. In fact, the system as contemplated contains several layers of security and privacy protection to ensure that vehicles can rely on messages sent from other vehicles and that a vehicle or group of vehicles would be identifiable through defined procedures only if there is a need to fix a safety problem.

The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeks public input on NHTSA’s findings to support the department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles, including proposed regulations by 2016.

The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking is available at Regulations.gov with the public having 60 days to comment. More information is also available on NHTSA's V2V Communications website.

With files from Rolf Lockwood.

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