The idea of having vehicles communicate with each other has been contemplated by many automakers for a long time. These companies, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, hope that this technology will increase road safety and reduce traffic congestion. So far, they have not been able to develop equipment that is reliable enough for mass-production. But because of the benefits of Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, both the auto industry and the government will continue to work on the technology and regulatory framework for these systems.
Government May Mandate V2V Technology
Automakers believe that it will take a few more years until this technology is ready for commercial use, but the federal government has already started conducting extensive research and analysis for its potential applications. They are currently considering making it a requirement that all new vehicles be equipped with such technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency in charge of enforcing motor vehicle safety standards, announced that it is currently analyzing data that it has gathered during a V2V pilot program. The program began in 2012, where it conducted road tests with V2V technology using about 3,000 vehicles equipped with such systems. Once they finalize the analysis, they will consider proposing a rule that requires V2V systems in new vehicles.
How Does Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication Technology Work?
This technology is intended to make it possible for vehicles to talk to each other and share information pertinent to safety. It will communicate the speed at which a vehicle is traveling, as well as a vehicle's position. V2V systems allow vehicles to communicate to each other wirelessly through Wi-Fi signals on a dedicated short-range communications network. The system employs a wireless chip that sends information about a car's location and speed to other vehicles, and receives similar information from vehicles nearby. At the moment, there are several types of V2V systems under development, and most of them are rely on on GPS technology, sensors and antennas. General Motors, for instance, has been working on a system that involves a computer chip, a GPS system, and an antenna, which allow a car to keep track of other vehicles' location and speed. These vehicles can detect if another vehicle is in their blind spot, or is stopped at a certain location on the road, and warn the driver that they need to react accordingly to avoid a collision.
Also, these systems can be used to warn drivers when approaching an intersection or before they change lanes. Additionally, they can help reduce traffic congestion by providing information that would be helpful when determining speed limits and when developing adaptable traffic light systems.
Security and Privacy Concerns
While V2V communication is undoubtedly a great tool for preventing car crashes, there are some issues that the general public is concerned about. Privacy groups will surely oppose the implementation of such technology into vehicles, as it might allow authorities to collect drivers' personal information and track their location and movement at all times, which would be a major invasion of privacy.
Another issue is the potential safety risks that drivers might be exposed to. There is fear that someone can hack your vehicle and control it remotely, bringing it to a full stop or accelerating abruptly, jeopardizing your life and the lives of your passengers.
The NHTSA claims that this technology won't pose a threat to the privacy and safety of drivers, stating that “V2V technology does not involve exchanging or recording personal information or tracking vehicle movements”, and insisting that it will make sure the system will be equipped with “several layers of security and privacy protection”.
For a similar story, read How are Self Driving Cars Going to Be Regulated