by Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
The government is launching a yearlong, real-world test of systems that keep cars from crashing into each other in Michigan this summer. It’s going to involve nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses using volunteer drivers, the Associated Press reports.
All the vehicles are going to electronically talk to each other to avoid accidents.
The vehicles will be equipped to continuously communicate over wireless networks, exchanging information on location, direction and speed 10 times a second with other similarly equipped cars within about 1,000 feet, the AP says. A computer analyzes the information and issues danger warnings to drivers, often before they can see the other vehicle.
The systems have been under development by several automakers over the past few years. They can either warn drivers that another vehicle is about cut in front of them or has suddenly stopped, or they can be tied to automatic system to brake cars to avoid collisions.
The AP goes on to say:
Called vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, more advanced versions of the systems can take control of a car to prevent an accident by applying brakes when the driver reacts too slowly to a warning.
V2V “is our next evolutionary step … to make sure the crash never happens in the first place, which is, frankly, the best safety scenario we can all hope for,” said David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
V2V technology holds the potential to help in most crashes that aren’t alcohol or drug related, Strickland said. But a lot will depend on how drivers respond to the warnings, and that’s one reason for the Ann Arbor test. Overall, more than 32,000 people were killed in traffic accidents last year. …..
Since V2V relies on wireless technology, ensuring that the safety systems are reliable and can’t be hacked is another concern, NHTSA officials said.
Together, the currently available technologies and the future V2V systems may effectively form a kind of autopilot for the road. Said Strassburger: “The long-term trajectory for these technologies is the vehicle that drives itself — the driverless car.” Report