News

‘Talking’ cars mandated by early 2017

‘Talking’ cars mandated by early 2017

Traffic is at a standstill on Interstate 65 northbound as officials work to clear abandoned vehicles Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 in Hoover, Ala. Overnight, the South saw fatal crashes and hundreds of fender-benders. Jackknifed 18-wheelers littered Interstate 65 in central Alabama. Photo: Associated Press/Hal Yeager

By Elvina Nawaguna

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. regulators are crafting a rule that would require all new vehicles to be able to “talk” to one another using wireless technology, which the Department of Transportation said would significantly reduce accidents on U.S. roads and alleviate traffic congestion.

A rule mandating so-called vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology should be put in place before President Barack Obama leaves office in early 2017, DOT officials said on Monday.

“When these technologies are adapted across the fleet, the results could be nothing short of revolutionary for roadway safety,” said David Friedman, acting administrator of the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The details of implementation are still unknown.

Mandating the use of technology once thought to be science-fiction will “pave the way for market penetration of vehicle-to-vehicle safety applications,” the DOT said in a statement.

This “V2V” technology allows cars on the road to trade basic safety data, such as speed and position, at a rate of ten times per second. This exchange of information might help avoid or reduce the severity of 80 percent of crashes that occur when the driver is not impaired, NHTSA said.

“Think of all the everyday situations that this technology could help with; when folks pull up to a four-way stop, driving behind a big truck or an SUV that limits your visibility or even making a lane change and a car moves into your blind spot,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told a news conference.

This data does not include personal details about the driver or vehicle, the DOT said. Vehicles or a group of vehicles can be identified through a defined procedure “only if there is a need to fix a safety problem.”

The announcement comes as NHTSA finishes its analysis of data gathered during its year-long pilot program of V2V technology in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In that program, U.S. officials and the University of Michigan outfitted nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses with wireless devices that tracked other vehicles’ speed and location, and alerted drivers to congestion.

Those findings, as well as a preliminary estimate of the costs of this technology, will be published in coming weeks.

An industry trade group aligned with auto manufacturers said it is willing to explore the idea but that a lot of questions remain. “Many pieces of a large puzzle still need to fit together,” said Gloria Bergquist, head of communications for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

“What remains to be addressed is security and privacy, along with consumer acceptance, affordability, achieving the critical mass to enable the ‘network effect’ and establishment of the necessary legal and regulatory framework,” she said.

“Automakers have invested significantly in safety technology and systems, and we will review today’s announcement and engage with NHTSA in next steps.”

(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna in Washington and Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit; editing by Matthew Lewis)

Recent Headlines

in Local

St. Clair County Sheriff Passes on U.S. House Bid

rick watson

Sheriff Rick Watson has declined a run for the house in the 12th Congressional District.

in Local

Judge Approves Place for Mel Reynolds to Stay While on Bond

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2012 file photo, former Illinois Congressman Mel Reynolds announces that he's running for the 2nd District seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., in Chicago. Reynolds has been indicted on federal tax evasion charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said in a statement Friday June 26, 2015. The indictment says the 63-year-old Chicago Democrat failed to file income tax returns for four consecutive years, between 2009 and 2012. Each count of failing to file carries a maximum one-year prison sentence. Reynolds resigned his Illinois congressional seat in 1995 after being convicted of statutory rape for having sex with an underage campaign worker. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Former U.S. Congressman claims race is a factor in the case.

in Local

Work on Illinois State Fair Venues Ramps Up

state fair logo

Governor says fair will go on in spite of budget impasse, but some vendors may be paid late.

in Local

Lincoln’s Relationship with Jewish People Theme of New ALPLM Exhibit

7-31-15 Lincoln Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum focuses on what was termed, at the time, another minority group.

in Local

William Kelly is Back — Bashing Sen. Mark Kirk

mark_kirk

Going beyond criticizing Kirk’s comments and policies, William Kelly talked about Kirk’s physical condition since he suffered a stroke in 2012.