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Government Says Cars That Talk with Each Other Will Save Thousands of Lives

The government wants cars to be able to talk to one another to prevent accidents
On Monday, the Obama administration began drafting rules to ensure that the cars and trucks of the future are fitted with technology that allow them to communicate, warning each other of danger in order to avoid collisions. The move was based on information from the National Highway Traffic Administration who released a report showing the benefits of this type of technology. By their estimation, talking cars could save as many as 1,083 lives per year by preventing 592,000 left turn and intersection crashes.

The technology, which will soon become standard in new cars, uses a radio signal to transmit direction, speed and distance from other cars and will warn drivers when they are in danger. This will prevent possible collisions between drivers who can’t see each other yet.

One report on the technology’s capability says, “A car would ‘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. 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 works up to about 300 yards (275 meters) away.”

This type of in-car technology isn’t the only new offering; self-driving cars are also on the horizon, as are roadways and traffic lights that will be able to talk to these cars to warn the drivers of upcoming congestion and advise detours to avoid traffic. Communities themselves will need to choose to invest in technology of this sort, which will be built into new traffic lights or retrofitted to upgrade older ones.

Many cars already have safety features like sensors, radars and cameras to stop collisions, and this new technology will be compatible with those. Experts are saying that continuous conversations between cars that drive themselves will make the road a safer place for us all. Anthony Fox, The Transportation Secretary, has high hopes for the vehicle to vehicle technology telling the Associated Press, “The next great advance in saving lives. 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.”

But it will take time for the full benefits to show, because it will only work between cars that have the technology, meaning most of the population will need to purchase new models or have their older vehicles upgraded for a small cost. Initial reports estimate this will be $350 by 2020 but is likely to get cheaper over time.

Yesterday’s announcement is another step in the ongoing march towards the type of futuristic world we once saw depicted in cartoons like the Jetsons. But if this type of automation becomes commonplace, it’s likely to keep us safer on the road.

(Photo courtesy of Oran Viriyincy)

2 thoughts on “Government Says Cars That Talk with Each Other Will Save Thousands of Lives

  1. This seems like common sense to me. If we are going to have a bunch of driverless cars on the road, they should be able to communicate with one another in some fashion.

  2. What happens if hackers are able to hack into this communication system? Couldn’t they make cars crash and cause deaths at will? I understand why the government wants this, but are they really thinking things through?

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