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US moves on vehicle-to-vehicle “silver bullet”

Chat room: US car-makers will be required to fit new car vehicle-to-vehicle data exchange systems under rules proposed by American authorities.

V2V a step closer as United States wheels out proposed car-to-car “talk” rules

14 Dec 2016

THE United States Department of Transportation has announced proposed rules for mandatory vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for all new cars and light trucks in a move that it says could prevent hundreds of thousands of crashes every year by helping vehicles “talk” to each other.

Using a common “language” to be developed with the motor industry, the proposed system will exchange data on speed, location, braking and other factors multiple times a second, effectively allowing vehicles to “see” around corners and warn of a potential crash.

The short-range radio systems can also work with other new safety technologies such as autonomous braking to avoid dangerous situations.

Separately, the department has announced that its Federal Highway Administration will soon issue guidance for vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications to help transportation planners integrate technologies to allow vehicles to “talk” to roadway infrastructure such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones to improve mobility, reduce congestion and improve safety.

Combined, V2V and V2I could eliminate or mitigate the severity of up to 80 per cent of “non-impaired crashes”, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes, the department estimates.

At the same time, US authorities are advancing rules covering testing of driverless autonomous vehicles across the nation to speed development of such technologies.

The V2V proposal – open for public comment for 90 days – calls for the system to be phased in on new cars, with motor companies to be required to equip half of all new vehicles with the V2V devices within two years of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issuing a final rule.

The remaining new-vehicle fleet would be required to adopt V2V within a further two years.

Announcing the proposed rules, US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said: “We are carrying the ball as far as we can to realise the potential of transportation technology to save lives.

“This long promised V2V rule is the next step in that progression,” he said.

“Once deployed, V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road and will help us enhance vehicle safety.”

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said advanced vehicle technologies “might well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways”.

“V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold,” he said.

Radio frequencies to handle the short-range wireless communication are being protected under US communications laws.

“V2V communications can provide the vehicle and driver with enhanced abilities to address additional crash situations, including those, for example, in which a driver needs to decide if it is safe to pass on a two-lane road (potential head-on collision), make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic, or determine if a vehicle approaching an intersection appears to be on a collision course,” the department said in a media release.

“In those situations, V2V communications can detect developing threat situations hundreds of yards away, and often in situations in which the driver and on-board sensors alone cannot detect the threat.”

It said privacy would also be protected in V2V safety transmissions. “V2V technology does not involve the exchange of information linked to or, as a practical matter, linkable to an individual, and the rule would require extensive privacy and security controls in any V2V devices,” it said.

Although no timetable for similar V2V systems have been mooted by governments in Australia, authorities here are keeping a close eye on overseas developments with a view to falling into line with global moves at an appropriate time.

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