Vehicle to Vehicle Communication to Make Roads Safer

A simple wireless technology promises to make driving much safer by vehicle to vehicle communication.

The key players responsible for this technology include General Motors, the University of Michigan, and the National Highway Traffic Administration. “More than a million people are killed on roads worldwide each year,” and with vehicle-to-vehicle communication, cars can talk to each other in order to prevent crashes.

On a sunny day last September, Hariharan Krishnan was speeding, “seemingly recklessly,” around the parking lot at General Motors’ research center in Warren, Michigan, in a Cadillac DTS. Wheeling around a corner, he hit the gas and a light flashed on the dashboard, followed by a beeping sound, and the seats started “buzzing furiously.” At this point Krishnan slammed on the breaks and stopped just as another vehicle whizzed past. This vehicle had been completely obscured by a large hedge.

The technology, called car-to-car or vehicle-to-vehicle communication, that warned of the impending collision will start making its debut in vehicles in a couple of years. It lets vehicles broadcast their position, speed, steering-wheel position, brake status, and other data to other vehicles within a few hundred meters.The other cars can use this data to build a detailed picture of what’s “unfolding” around them, revealing trouble that the most alert and careful driver, or the best sensor system, would miss or fail to anticipate.

“Creating a car-to-car network is still a complex challenge The computers aboard each car process the various readings being broadcast by other vehicles 10 times every second, each time calculating the chance of an impending collision. Transmitters use a dedicated portion of wireless spectrum as well as a new wireless standard, 802.11p, to authenticate each message

“Shortly after the Ann Arbor trial ended, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would start drafting rules that could eventually mandate the use of car-to-car communication in new cars. The technology is also being tested in Europe and Japan.”There will, of course, also be a few obstacles to navigate. GM has committed to using car-to-car communication in a 2017-model Cadillac. Those first Cadillacs will have few cars to talk to, and that will limit the value of the technology. It could still be more than a decade before vehicles that talk to each other are commonplace.”

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