Talking Cars Pick Up Speed, Could Prevent Thousands of Car Accidents

Talking Cars? Yeah, you read that correctly. What used to be a concept relegated to the realm of speculation and science fiction is quickly becoming a very real innovation for the World’s auto-manufacturers, and it may have the potential to prevent thousands of motor vehicle accidents each year.

When we refer to cars ‘talking,’ what we are really referring to is vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which researchers call V2V. These systems use a modified version of Wi-Fi, called dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), which send and receive alerts to and from other drivers and traffic signals in order to avoid things like dangerous road conditions and hazardous drivers. A federally funded pilot project at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute was just completed in August, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be deciding by the end of the year whether to take initial steps to require vehicles to connect this way in the future. The yearlong UMTRI project involved some 2,500 cars from eight different auto-manufacturers, as well as about 300 other aftermarket vehicles that were fitted with devices allowing them to communicate on the road. Some motorcycles, as well as a number of commercial trucks and buses were also equipped with add-on devices, testing the ability of already produced vehicles to join the connected network.

Cameras were placed inside and outside of vehicles to capture how driers respond to connected car warnings, and regulators are in the process of analyzing the data to learn the most effective ways to warn drivers of hazards. The companies that participated in the project were General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai – Kia, Honda, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan.

The cost of implementing these new technologies is estimated at roughly $2,000 per car, which could potentially limit the number of drivers with access to it, but officials at the Center for Automotive Research say that they expect this cost to become much smaller as more cars are manufactured with the technology. Additionally, even if the NHTSA comes to a decision by years-end, the development of talking car technology on a large scale would likely take some time, and it could take two years or more for final policy plans to be put into place. Auto-manufacturers, as well as the NHTSA are now left to weigh the significant cost of this technology with its potential benefits, which could result in more than 80% of annual crashes eventually being prevented. (USA TODAY)

Our lawyers see the deleterious effects of negligent and reckless drivers every day in our line of work, and we support any steps that can be taken to lessen the risk of traffic accidents for drivers. This technology is closer today than it ever has been, but it still doesn’t change the fact that 3 million people are injured each year in automobile accidents in the present day. If you are one of those people, you aren’t alone, and our lawyers are here to help you.

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