According to a recent article from the New York Times, the federal government has recently announced that new cars will soon be required to broadcast their location, speed, and direction — and to receive similar information from other vehicles — in order to warn drivers of possible collisions.
A report will be issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine the costs and benefits of a car-to-car communication system.
Automakers have already offered a variety of innovative technologies that take control of the car to prevent accidents. Some cars can “sense” when they are drifting out of their lane and automatically steer back into the lane.
Adaptive cruise control, which keeps a vehicle at a fixed distance away from another car and also stops the car automatically, has also been introduced.
The proposed communication technology would only deliver warnings to the driver, not take automatic control of the car. The driver would still have to take the necessary actions to avoid an accident after a warning. The warning would likely be displayed on a screen or through a sound or vibration.
According to the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, the proposed system could bring about road safety and road congestion avoidance benefits; however, the alliance said that there are some issues that need to be addressed.
Included in these possible issues are maintaining privacy from car to car, costs, and achieving a wide enough adoption among automakers to make the system truly effective.
Federal officials, who have proposed the communication system, said that the data would be broadcasted without the identity of the sender and that the information would not be recorded or saved, which would protects drivers’ privacy.
The communication is especially intended to reduce the amount of accidents in city and suburban areas at intersections. The system would have a range of about 300 yards. According to the article, the Federal Communication Commission has already set aside radio frequencies for this purpose. There is also the possibility that a system like this could expand beyond cars to other devices, like smart phones, in order to facilitate communication between vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles.
Though this technology is backed by enthusiasm from federal agents and even automakers — who are eager to offer customers new options — the introduction of such a system could take a while.