The New Jersey of the future could be a place where cars talk to each other so travel can be safer for vehicle drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The federal government is proposing that all new cars and light trucks communicate wirelessly to one another, with traffic lights and other roadway infrastructure. The hope is that this could dramatically cut the number of traffic deaths and reduce the number and lessen the severity of injuries, according to Fortune magazine.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications could enable vehicles to broadcast their locations, speed, direction and other information ten times per second. The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal mandates that systems in all the various vehicles “speak” the same language through standardized messaging the government has developed with the industry.
One of the central goals behind V2V technology is crash prevention. About 94% of collisions involve human error, according to the DOT. With V2V, it’s hoped that vehicles will be able to better recognize potential collisions earlier and better than human drivers can. V2V could warn a driver a vehicle ahead is braking so they need to slow down, or inform a driver it’s not safe to travel through an intersection because an unseen vehicle will run through a red light.
V2V messages could have a range of about 300 meters, which is farther than ultrasonic sensors, cameras and radar currently used on vehicles. These radio messages can “see” around corners and “through” other vehicles, so a driver may be warned of an oncoming vehicle emerging from behind a truck or a blind alley. This could result in greater capability and additional time to warn drivers.
V2V technology can be integrated with sensors already on vehicles to provide greater benefits. This combined approach could improve accuracy and become the basis for the creation of safe, autonomous vehicles. Automakers say the V2V technology is ready to get on the road, but they’ve been waiting for government regulations to ensure compatibility between manufacturers.
The DOT’s Federal Highway Administration will soon begin giving guidance for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications. This should result in integration of communication technologies allowing vehicles to communicate to roadway infrastructure such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones to improve traffic flow, reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that safety applications enabled by V2V and V2I technology could eliminate or lessen the severity of up to 80% percent of accidents where the driver isn’t impaired by drugs of alcohol, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes.
Technology is steadily making vehicles safer. At one point cars were practically made of solid metal and the force of the accident was transmitted to occupants. Crumple zones came next, so the car took the beating in a collision, not those inside. Shatter-proof glass, seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, onboard radar and technologies that warn drivers when a car is drifting out of a lane and that could stop a vehicle in an emergency situation are all part of cars now.
Though we’re not at the point where we would trust a fully autonomous vehicle, given how many of us are killed and injured due to human error there’s a huge potential for far greater vehicle safety when and if such vehicles are on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Jersey vehicle accident, schedule a free consultation with our office by calling us at 1-866-813-4516 or by using our online quick connect form. Contact us so you can learn about your legal rights and take action to protect your ability to seek compensation.