By on December 13, 2016

State Farm car accident

The United States Department of Transportation has proposed a rule that would require vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in all new cars.

Vehicle-to-vehicle systems allow cars to communicate information to each other that could be used to update drivers about potential accidents, possibly reducing the number of crashes on U.S. roadways. The basic technology uses short-range radios to send and receive vehicle data on location, speed, direction, and braking status. While extremely useful in the application of autonomous driving technology, a lot of the potential safety applications resulting from V2V has not yet been conceived. 

“Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in an official announcement. “V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold.”

Early applications of the proposed system would revolve around currently available safety aids. Vehicles that contain automated driving functions — automatic braking or adaptive cruise control, for example — could further benefit from the use of V2V data.

The system could also provide drivers with enhanced abilities and complete situational awareness. For example, a driver could receive additional information to help them decide if it is safe to pass on a two-lane road, make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic, or determine if a vehicle approaching an intersection appears to be on a collision course.

Of course, with the exchange of data comes the question of digital security. However, the proposal has considered personal privacy. The DOT says that no personal information about the driver or vehicle will be broadcast using V2V; the system only transmits generic safety information. Meanwhile the NHTSA is also working to ensure that the system is safe from digital attacks.

While the “rule” is only a proposal at the moment, the DOT has officially stated that it intends to make the technology a requirement on new light-vehicles. The notice of proposed rulemaking will be open for public comment for 90 days. Then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will review and alter the proposal before issuing a final ruling.

[Image: State Farm]

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47 Comments on “U.S. Department of Transportation Proposes Mandatory ‘Talking Car’ Technology to Prevent Crashes...”


  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    “Your door is ajar.”

  • avatar
    never_follow

    This’ll work perfect, right up until a car plows into a tractor, or deer, or something else that isn’t communicating on the network. Then who’s fault is it?

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Agree. It will only work if everyone’s vehicle is running the technology. I can see it being very helpful on winding hilly roads where it is hard to spot oncoming vehicles. The logging industry uses VHF radio’s to communicate locations on single lane gravel roads. This would work much better since it would drastically reduce human error.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Why?

        Why can’t our safety systems behave exactly like they do now if the car approaching doesn’t have V2V, but take that additional information into account if it does?

        It’s not like all the other safety features suddenly are struck dumb. You’ll be safer from a greater distance (or from nonobvious issues) in V2V, but none of that suggests a need to disable the other crash detection bits, IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          orenwolf – I was basing my comment on the assumption that drivers will act like the system will alert them to everything out there. If you drive based upon the premise that everyone out there is trying to kill you, then all will be fine. (that is how one should drive regardless of what systems are on your vehicle)

          • 0 avatar
            Steve Biro

            I have to agree with Lou on that last point. I’ve been riding motorycles for the past 40 years. Motorcycles teach one to assume everyone else on the road wants you dead. It’s the only way to stay alive.

            Meanwhile… why does the public and private safety establishment keep coming up with schemes like this? To save lives? Then why to they keep giving a pass to those who can not or will not learn to drive properly? Why do they keep giving a pass to those who talk on their phones, text and otherwise divert their eyes from the road for extended periods of time while operating a motor vehicle?

            How about banning the operation of cell phones in a moving car – period? I don’t want to hear anyone’s lame scenerio about an emergency situation or passengers in the car. I don’t want to hear about all of the money the phone makers, wireless service providers and app writers will lose as a result. Tough. Cell phones in a moving car are a menace. Moreover, it’s clear that a major portion of the population is quite literally addicted to them. Just ban their use in moving vehicles.

            Penalty for first offense: suspension of driver’s license for a year. Second offense: revocation of driving privileges for life. And – oh yes – if you get into a crash while using a phone, you forfeit your insurance coverage.

            You’ll save a lot more lives this way… while saving society billions of dollars in the process. Sorry to sound like a crank. But it’s time we faced the truth about why highway fatalities are starting to go up again.

            Hang up the phone and drive. If you must make or take a call, pull over and park before doing so. It really is that simple.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            “Meanwhile… why does the public and private safety establishment keep coming up with schemes like this? To save lives? Then why to they keep giving a pass to those who can not or will not learn to drive properly? Why do they keep giving a pass to those who talk on their phones, text and otherwise divert their eyes from the road for extended periods of time while operating a motor vehicle?

            How about banning the operation of cell phones in the car – period? I don’t want to hear anyone’s lame scenerio avout an emergncy situation or passengers in the car. Just ban them. Penalty for first offense: suspension of driver’s license for a year. Second offense: revocation of driving privileges for life. And – of yes – if you get into a crash while using a phone, you forfeit insurance coverage.”

            So, here’s the problem with those ideas:

            1 – how do you determine, in advance, who will “drive properly”? Much more stringent tests, sure – but how do you know the driver, that day, at that time, isn’t tired, or distracted by a blowup they just had with their boss, or been drinking? Do you stick a breathalyzer interlock on every vehicle? Do you begin tracking eye movement and refuse to start the car if the driver appears to not be focused and alert? And who’s going to pay for all of this?
            2 – And sure, penalties are being increased all the time for driving while using a phone – but what about people talking handsfree on the phone? Should that be disallowed too? And if so, then what about the studies that show that talking to a passenger can be just as distracting as talking handsfree on the phone, or at the very least have a measurable effect, especially if it’s an argument or somesuch? And more importantly, how do you prove that the fight they were having with their passenger contributed to the collision? Start recording what’s said, like they do for planes?

            IMHO the simple answer as to why they keep “getting a free pass” is that there are simply too many ways that an otherwise perfectly competent driver may find themselves in a situation where they shouldn’t be driving, but then do anyway. You’re not going to call a cab just because you stayed late at work or couldn’t sleep and are drowsy. All statistics say you damned well should. But you likely won’t, and now you’re a danger to others. Same with if you just stormed out of work/home/whatever in an argument but are in a hurry to get somewhere.

            Unless you create a true nanny state and start requiring pilot-level sterile cockpit rules when driving, you can’t *force* people to pay attention. You also can’t just kick everyone off the road and force retraining either – again, who would pay?

            In the absence of that solution, you have the alternative – have systems in-vehicle that don’t get distracted or drowsy to react when they have to. Something has to change, though – too many innocent folks get slaughtered by idiots on the road.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Lou_BC:

            I mean sure, maybe eventually they’d work that way, but I don’t think they have to initially.

            For example, have you heard of TCAS? On planes, it’s the Traffic Collision Avoidance System. Planes with the tech talk to each other in the sky – if they get too close to one another, they will negotiate which plane should pull up, and which one should descend, and relay those instructions to the pilot (or autopilot) to take corrective action. If the other plane doesn’t have TCAS, then it will follow other guidelines instead.

            In a car world, you can imagine a car broadcasting a loss of traction or some other event out to the vehicles so that they can take preemptive action earlier than a human could (pull back on the throttle, priming the brakes, etc) – most of these actions are what the new collision avoidance systems do anyway, but in theory the V2V system could do it sooner.

            Eventually sure, once you reached critical mass of V2V vehicles you’d want them giving non-emergency data to each other so you don’t need to stop for intersections or could travel way closer together than is safe for humans to do so, etc – but that would still have to be in conjunction with better autonomous systems (I mean, there’ll still be deer..)

            peer-to-peer communication for planes has always been an additional layer of security, not a replacement for existing technologies, and I don’t see why cars would be any different.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >This’ll work perfect, right up until a car plows into a tractor, or deer, or something else that isn’t communicating on the network. Then who’s fault is it?

      U.S. Department of Transportation Proposes Mandatory ‘Talking Deer’ Technology to Prevent Crashes

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Then you just default to what we do now in a wreck. Look at the evidence and assign blame.

      V2V communication doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility as a driver no more than Tesla calling it’s driver assist auto pilot relieves you of your responsibility as a driver in that case.

      This is just another tool in your driving bag to assist you in being a better driver.

      If the DOT and manufacturers have any sense they won’t tout it as a panacea for inattentive and/or bad driving even in combination with autonomy.

      Planes, trains and ships still have pilots aND with good reason even in those situations you still need somebody at the controls if the system cannot take an event into account or fails completely.

      • 0 avatar
        NickS

        Orenwolf, talking to a passenger is distracting but not nearly as much as talking to someone who is not present in the vehicle. Handsfree or not.

        Biro is right, this is really a very sad reality we live in. The addiction to a screen has reached epidemic proportions, and not just while driving.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          I never said the two were comparable, but it’s naive to think a large number of accidents aren’t caused by passengers distracting the driver. In fact in Ontario, it’s a big part of why, until age 25, there are strict limits on the number of passengers you can have *in* your vehicle.

          Also, the jump from “Talking on the phone is bad’ to “screens are bad” assumes everyone using their phone is using the screen while doing so. I’m sure that’s not the case, but I’m also sure the slow rollout of things like CarPlay and Android Auto isn’t helping much with that situation, either.

          IMHO another contributing factor is that human beings are surprisingly terrible at determining their level of distraction at any moment, usually underestimating the effect distractions are having on what they’re up to.

  • avatar
    VJW

    V2V will save us from the most deadly of all crashes – the T Bone at an intersection. The driver running the orange light has had the pedal to the metal for a few seconds and is well above the speed limit by the time he enters the intersection. With traditional radar or camera safety systems the car is invisible, because they can only see front and back. V2V will be the biggest breakthrough for reducing car crashes, is relatively cheap to implement and can be retrofitted easily in any vehicle. Definitely the best “Bang” for the buck!

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “can be retrofitted easily in any vehicle”

      Your bible school faith and evangelism is amusing but it may be more difficult than you suppose to cajole the drunken pieces of serially-offending sh1t who cause the worst T-bones to comply with something that could cost them liquor or data plan money.

      Plus, what would your proposed V2V system do, *alert* them? Perhaps the innocent car could take evasive action in time but how much time would that be?

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      Make America brake again!

  • avatar
    Funky

    Umm. Yeh. Mandate something that sounds good to the bureaucrat and sounds plausible to the public; but without knowing for sure that it will be of any use in the real world. So, I guess, this will become, like, the car’s appendix.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    I can’t help but laugh whenever TTAC uses this stock photo… the dude in the gen 2 ES300 with khaki pants, striped polo, sneakers, and bald spot couldn’t be more perfect.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Just thinking about this boggles my mind. How would v2v react to a recalcitrant driver? Who takes precedent, when, and how much? What kind of integration would it have with autonomous driving systems?

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      I’d think it would be fully integrated to “take over” when danger was in the way. If you’ve driven a car with adaptive cruise and full stop, its just another layer to that. With steering.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Never driven one. So say there is some danger, and I hit the brakes but start skidding in the snow, let go and try to move through the open lane… but the v2v causes the car to select a different coping strategy. All of a sudden accelerator and steering input on my end is disabled?

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Usually, Adaptive Cruise will be overridden by the gentlest of throttle input, and I assume any steering input from the driver will override the electronics for semi-autonomous lateral control.

    • 0 avatar
      focus-ed

      Exactly, just because a vehicle broadcasts some data it’s trully meaningless without automating the response – basically an autonomous vehicle with no decision room (distractions) for the driver. The next legislation will be for drivers to have implants surgically installed. Tin foil will be in high demand.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Perhaps this is the “camel’s nose under the tent” for local LEO’s to utilize V2V to immobilize or perhaps track vehicles of interest. For this to work would require a unique indentifier for each vehicle/system to eliminate confusion between multiple vehicles communicating in close proximity. And, gee, there may be an accidental disclosure of the tracking records for vehicles through careless loss of a thumb drive by some harried and overworked government employee. I’m looking for my tinfoil hat but even without wearing it I think that there may be more to this than the good intentions of the honorable bureaucrats of the NHTSA.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    This requires location data to work. The usual solution is gps, but that is not sufficiently precise for car traffic. Likely this will require beacons along the roadsides for that information. Perhaps triangulating cell towers could be used.

    Anyway, those seeking to continue their bullying driving habits despite such systems will find that video of their stupidity is uploaded to the police whenever another car,autonomous or not, has to take evasive action to avoid them. The ticket is in the mail and soon, a requirement that the perp can no longer control a car.

    Tha days of aggressive, diy and incompetent driving are almost over.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Someone mentioned threats posed by things like animals that are not part of V2V. A secondary function of V2V would be cars reporting to others, hazards in the area. For instance, detected presence of a deer would notify other vehicles to a “yellow flag” mode. Not foolproof of course, but getting close to it.

    And, a reminder that the famous Tesla/semi trailer truck accident would have been prevented by V2V.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “the famous Tesla/semi trailer truck accident would have been prevented by V2V”

      It could also have been prevented by the hand of a loving god, intervention by beneficent space aliens or GI Joe bellowing “Wake the f*ck up, Soldier!”

      Of those four, my money’s on space aliens as the likeliest hope for ushering in the glorious, safer future.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “Of those four, my money’s on space aliens as the likeliest hope for ushering in the glorious, safer future.”

        Statistically, the intervention of space aliens in our affairs is only slightly more likely than that of God, with the limiting factor (for space aliens) being the speed of light.

        The universe is so unimaginably huge that the speed of light makes interaction between life forms vanishingly small (or impossible).

        To keep our lives interesting, or meaningful, the faithful have invented God (in all of his forms), and the nerds have invented faster-than-light-travel.

        No such luck – we have to figure out all of this ourselves, and it seems that (lately) we’ve taken a turn backwards.

        There is no SAVIOR, mystical or ALIEN that will guide us.

        Which is no fun at all.

        Edit: On Topic — This tech should be mandatory for bicyclists who choose to commute on narrow 2-lane roads, as a warning to oncoming cars.
        Could this prevent the (way-too-many) deaths of innocents from police chases?

    • 0 avatar
      Tandoor

      I don’t know. They only want to require it on light vehicles (for now?).

      • 0 avatar
        NickS

        “And, a reminder that the famous Tesla/semi trailer truck accident would have been prevented by V2V.”

        No, not really. Trucks are not light duty vehicles, so the truck in that scenario wouldn’t have V2V. And remember, the tesla “saw” the side of the trailer but decided it was a hwy sign.

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    >The system could also provide drivers with enhanced abilities and complete situational awareness.

    Providing the dumbed-down driving populace with situational awareness abilities sounds like the ultimate oxymoron.

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    While we’re at it can we please incorporate a way for my car to tell the car in front of it that the light is now green and please get a move on.

    • 0 avatar
      Tandoor

      I know, the horn. Always feels kind of rude, though.

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        What we really need are car horns with two settings or levels including one that has a pleasant and polite tone that tells the other driver to get going without provoking the middle finger.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          “…provoking the middle finger.”

          Or, the trigger finger…

          My Volt has a button on the end of the turn-signal stalk that makes the horn emit a one-second “warble” as a manual warning for pedestrians – even that is a little too loud if you’re close – but it’s good for “prodding” inattentive drivers.


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