March 14, 2013

Are Talking Cars the Next Step in Preventing Accidents?

by Levin & Perconti

You’d be hard pressed to find a person today that hasn’t experienced some sort of motor collision. In any given year there will be roughly 6 million car crashes, and whether you have experienced one yourself, or just experienced one as an observer, everyone, our attorneys included, knows how damaging they can be. However, the U.S. Transportation Secretary believes that the next frontier of driver safety could be right out of the science fiction books.

Unfortunately his proposed plan doesn’t involve bat mobiles or hover cars; instead, the Transportation Secretary’s vision involves talking cars. Last year, the Secretary launched the world’s largest set of field tests to date in order to see how effective cars communicating with one another and their surrounding environment is in preventing accidents. “Cars talking to cars is the future of motor safety,” said an official at the beginning of the $25 million yearlong trial, which will conclude in August of this year and has monitored about 3,000 cars, buses, and freight trucks.

These vehicles have been fitted with wireless devices and have will have the ability to communicate with wi-fi and other technological tools that will be placed at intersections and traffic signs. Ideally, this technology aims to be one step ahead in receiving the visual and audio warnings when events present a high possibility of a collision, such as another car breaking suddenly or a car approaching a red light at excessive speeds. While most new cars today have sensors and lasers that detect potential danger, it is often limited to only its immediate environment; the wi-fi communication of cars would provide a new macrocosmic view of traffic.

Many believe that if communication between cars, traffic, and environment can be perfected, it could mean trimming 80% of crashes. Currently, most of the work being done on this project is in thanks to the collaboration of eight big auto-manufacturers: General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Hyudai-Kia, and Mercedes-Benz. Additionally, many suppliers have been hard at work preparing intersections, signs, and other aspects of the roadway with interactive sensors.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says once the data is collected, they will decide their next move in what could prove to be a “quantum leap” for safety. “Who would have ever thought a vehicle could talk to another vehicle,” said the USDP’s spokesperson, “[it is] groundbreaking for American innovation.” (USA Today)

Research like this is making our roadways safer each and every day, but our lawyers know that accidents still happen. Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. These accidents can cripple people physically and mentally for a lifetime, and leave victims without a means of supporting themselves. Our attorneys have fought for more than 20 years to ensure that our clients are treated fairly, and receive the compensation that they deserve.

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