NHTSA vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology

The drive toward vehicle communications picks up speed

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies are paving the way for systematic highway safety by enabling  vehicles to exchange sensor data including vehicle speed and positioning information.

V2V technology, which can be fused with existing vehicle safety features to further improve the effectiveness of existing crash avoidance safety systems, will also serve as a building block for a future driverless vehicle, according to government transportation experts.

In fact, vehicles equipped with V2V technology could produce a wide range of mobility and environmental benefits based on vehicle-to-infrastructure applications and other V2V applications that enhance traffic flow.

"By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety," said David Friedman, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, citing a recent NHTSA report on the promises of the new technology.

"V2V technology is ready to move toward implementation and this report highlights the work NHTSA and DOT are doing to bring this technology and its great safety benefits into the nation’s light vehicle fleet," Friedman said.

NHTSA’s recent report, Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications: Readiness of V2V Technology for Application, analyzes research done thus far and includes a "very preliminary" estimate of the costs of V2V and benefits of  V2V-based safety applications.

NHTSA estimates about 5 million vehicle crashes occur each year. V2V will give drivers more time to react than previous technologies, such as electronic stability control, in avoiding traffic risks.

Not that the technologies are ready for main street, according to report. They hold the promise of substantially reducing crashes, injuries and traffic fatalities, but the authors say some must be better tailored to the safety problems they are meant to solve.

The Left Turn Assist application, for example, triggers only when a driver uses a turn signal, meaning it won't help the many drivers who don’t use a turn signal when in a dedicated turn lane.

As for the cost, the NHTSA says based on preliminary information, V2V equipment and supporting communications functions, including a security management system, would cost only about $341 to $350 per vehicle in 2020 and could fall to $209 to $227 by 2058. These costs include an added $9 to $18 per year in fuel costs caused by the equipment's added weight.

Eventually, DOT envisions having every vehicle on the road (including trucks, buses and motorcycles) equipped to communicate with other vehicles. Another DOT agency, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, has predicted that V2V communications, "will enable active safety systems that can assist drivers in preventing 76 percent of the crashes on the roadway, thereby reducing fatalities and injuries that occur each year."

Additional research underway includes  development of performance requirements for devices and safety applications, the ability to mitigate V2V communication congestion, incorporating GPS to improve V2V positioning, remedies to address false positive warnings from the technologies, and the key issue of consumer acceptance.

A longer version of this article appeared on Occupational Health & Safety, a sister site to GCN.

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