NTSB Recommends Mandating Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Technology
This week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made a recommendation to the United States government that could prevent many fatal car accidents if implemented. The recommendation involves a new technology called "vehicle-to-vehicle" communication, which allows automobiles to "communicate" with each other up to 10 times per second. The technology—which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has tested in Ann Arbor, Michigan this year—allows for the exchange of information such as location, direction, and speed between cars on the road.
As the NTSB Chairman, Deborah Hersman, puts it: “This technology, more than anything else, holds great promise to protect lives and prevent injuries.” Because of the alleged safety features associated with the device, the National Transportation Safety Board would like the NHTSA to require car manufacturers to install this technology in all new vehicles. The new technology would protect drivers and allow them to enjoy the benefit of advanced safety features.
What Is the Response from the Auto Manufacturers?
As expected, auto manufacturers are pushing back. This technology would be expensive and difficult to implement, hiking prices at both the production and purchasing end. Auto manufacturers insist that it is still much too early to mandate installation of the vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology across the board for all American automobiles.
The Future of Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication
The NHTSA expects to make a decision on the recommendation by the end of this year (2013). If they do not issue a mandate on the vehicle-to-vehicle technology, the NHTSA will continue to research it. If the technology proves to be effective at preventing accidents, we can expect the NHTSA to eventually issue regulations requiring its installation. The question is, when will that happen, and how long will drivers have to wait for these new safety features to come into play?
The NTSB would argue that the sooner this happens, the better for Americans. The technology would be particularly effective at preventing intersection accidents, which account for approximately 22% of all fatal traffic accidents. The NTSB’s recommendation was sparked by two fatal school bus accidents: One in New Jersey and one in Florida. NTSB officials believe this communication technology would have prevented the school bus accidents and saved children's lives.
What do you think? Is this technology is ready to hit the public? Should it be required on all vehicles?
Updated January 2016
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is still not required for all vehicles, but it is still in play. The technology is being refined and implemented even now. Sources say that both Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz are developing vehicles with vehicle-to-vehicle communication compatibility now, which will be introduced to the consumer market in the United States in their 2017 model versions. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated on January 14, 2016 that the federal government is currently promising $4 billion to “accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation.” Even two simply vehicle-to-vehicle communication properties—left turn assist (LTA) and intersection movement assist (IMA)—could stop as many as 529,000 accidents from happening in the United States every year, Mr. Foxx said.
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