US Government Seeks Private Company To Run National V2V Network

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Not too long ago, we brought you news of the U.S. government and a handful of automakers coming together to bring vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems online by 2020 at the earliest. Though the government is excited to make your vehicles more connected, running the show is a task the feds simply cannot afford to do.

Automotive News reports the U.S. Department of Transportation, citing “the current fiscal environment” also responsible for the current state of the Highway Trust Fund — is unable to fund, construct or operate the infrastructure needed to make V2V a success. Thus, the agency is seeking to bestow that honor upon a private company, whether it be a Google or a General Motors.

That said, automakers — especially those working with the feds on V2V — aren’t likely so willing to run things, either. Beltway attorney Mark Johnson explains:

Other than the safety benefits from this technology, it’s not clear at this point what benefits the car companies would see from taking on this role. They believe in this technology. We’ve had a sea change over the last two years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to be the administrator of a nationwide system, or are the most capable candidate to do it.

Funding issues aren’t the only quibble as far as the government is concerned, as it, too, has few inclinations toward managing a massive infrastructure project such as this. The prospect of always having to be one step ahead of hackers, with the specter of the HealthCare.gov launch hanging over their heads, may be too much for any one agency to take on regarding V2V. Instead, a company with deep pockets and ambitions to match — like Google — may ultimately be the one leading the future of vehicle connectivity.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Stuki Stuki on Aug 26, 2014

    Any kind of V2V implementation that depends on some privileged monopoly to "run" it, is worse than none at all. What a stupid crock!

    • CJinSD CJinSD on Aug 26, 2014

      It will certainly be worse than none at all, but it won't be worse than one run by the current regime or any likely future one.

  • Xeranar Xeranar on Aug 26, 2014

    I'm actually a little amazed outside of CJ (who is so far to the right on economics it's almost questionable if he is a real person or merely an ironic equivalent) that people seem to get the practical realities of this implications. Bravo for understanding the principle concepts to it all. That being said, it sounds more like an issue of the actual maintenance of the system would be the biggest hurdle because it would have to be far more effective than our current cellular system is and maintain far more connections. Understandably new cars would run in an ad hoc system (only talking to each other) but would need to be able to broadcast further and if need to be broadcast to by a massive network node. It's really feasible on a city level but getting to a vast national one would be insanely difficult and not necessarily prohibitively expensive but it would certainly dig into our GDP just the way our infrastructure for basic repairs is as well. We're coming to a head though, I think in the next 10-15 years we're going to see a seismic shift in spending as the left's demographics simply outlive the right's. But that's neither here nor there at the moment.

    • Brad2971 Brad2971 on Aug 27, 2014

      Be careful about that issue of "the left's demographics simply outlive the rights." You cannot go by the assumption that because some 25-year old kid voted for President Obama in 2012, that that same person will vote for whomever the Dems and their progressive intellectual retainers will present in 2028. Furthermore, you're going to have to make a case for that spending, which is something the promoters of this V2V network scheme are going to have great difficulty presenting to an understandably skeptical Congress AND public.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...
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