Administration Wants Safety Through Connected Cars
The Obama administration announced that it is taking the first step toward requiring that future cars and light trucks be equipped with technology that enables vehicles to talk to each other, warning of potential danger and collision avoidance. This is the first step for government in terms of supporting a connected car initiative.
A recent research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), suggests that the potential technology could prevent almost 600.000 accidents a year that are attributed to left-turns at intersections, saving over 1,000 lives in the United States.
The technology is based on using a radio signal to continually transmit a vehicle’s position, speed and heading. Vehicles with the same technology would also receive the same information and would be able to alert a driver of an impending collision. In simple terms, a vehicle would be able to determine if another car or truck was equipped with the same technology, thereby alerting the driver if it was going to run a red light or make a sudden stop even before the brake lights illuminated. According to the NHTSA, the technology could work up to 275 metres away.
Connected Cars Can Reduce Congestion
The technology could be expanded to include roadway and traffic lights. Through the same technology,traffic lights could send warnings of light changes, traffic congestion and even road hazards, allowing drivers to slow down and avoid running lights or plan detours based on traffic congestion.
The connected car technology is different from the current technology implemented in vehicles which uses sensors and radar as alerts. The current Obama administration however sees the two technologies as being compatible and concludes that if there is conversation between vehicles, self-driving cars would could become safe as well.
According to the Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx,
“This technology could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether — saving lives, saving money and even saving fuel thanks to the widespread benefits it offers.”
Although the technology will take time to be implemented and retrofitted in vehicles such as in the case of fleet vehicles, it is the expectation that once a large mass of vehicles is equipped with the technology, they will be able to follow each other by a pre-set distance on designated highways. It is also the hope of the technology to improve traffic flow and save fuel by pre-setting the distance of vehicles on highways.
According to Young Drivers of Canada, technology is coming to a vehicle near you. What is important to note however, is that despite all the innovation in technology, drivers will continue to depend on the skills they learn while being taught how to drive. The technology may help in driving, but the skills will ensure that you drive to survive!