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New wireless technology that allows cars to talk to each other should be required in new cars and light trucks, the Obama administration said Monday, arguing the change would prevent thousands of car accidents each year.

New vehicle-to-vehicle technologies, which allow cars to automatically detect each other in order to avoid collisions, could prevent up to 592,000 crashes a year and save more than 1,000 lives, according to a new study by federal transportation officials.

The technologies use wireless signals in vehicles to transmit speed, position and other information to cars and trucks around it that also have the safety systems installed. The transmissions allow the vehicles to warn drivers of possible collisions so they can make adjustments to avoid an accident.

Federal transportation safety officials studied the possible benefits of two such wireless safety technologies. One helps drivers turning left avoid turning in front of another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The other monitors movement near intersections and can warn a driver if it may be unsafe to enter.

Obama administration officials said Monday they’re working toward formally proposing a requirement next year that such technology be installed in new cars and light trucks in coming years.

“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,” Transportation Department Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

The extra cost to consumers for having such technology installed in their new vehicles would be about $329 per vehicle in 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated in a 327-page report. Those costs would decrease with time as the wireless safety systems became more common, federal officials say.

Car makers have generally been supportive of new wireless safety technologies, although they have historically been somewhat reluctant to support federal mandates that increase their production costs.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group representing major car makers including Ford, Toyota, GM and BMW, said the proposal “holds the promise of being one of the most significant advances in driving safety in this generation.”

But the automakers carefully didn’t weigh in on whether the feds should mandate the safety technology, instead calling on federal regulators to reserve some airwaves for future auto safety uses.

Comments about the proposal can be made here.



4 comments
bobsulli
bobsulli

How does this play out? The spotlight moves to costs for development and implementation of these technologies. Insurance companies "step up" and offer to pay those costs citing the positive reasons they'd do it fewer fatalities and accidents. Meanwhile, they'll get access to the real-time driving data they crave. If you don't think the insurance companies crave this data, watch the Snapshot from Progressive ad:

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7w9v/progressive-snapshot-peer-pressure 

BubbaGump
BubbaGump

Oh BS!! The government will not get this in before 2016, if mandated. Now imagine the amount (sheer volume) of cars and trucks on the road that will NOT have this dubious technology, yet it will prevent almost 600,000 accidents per year(?). Frankly, we need people paying closer attention to what they're doing then having devices do it for them. Especially devices that could affect the accelerator, brakes or even the steering. Technology like this has the capacity to make the driver more complacent and reliant on sensors to issue a "pay attention" alert. And, some of the crazy things I've seen drivers do over the years, would likely not benefit with this sort of system on either side of the equation. This emphasis on internet connectivity is getting out of hand. That large screen on the dashboard is more of a distraction than a benefit when peoples' eyes need to be on the road and not looking at a screen or searching for the touch buttons. As far as turning left, most often there is a left turn arrow although some intersections will go to yield on green after the left turn arrow. A turner that is going to ignore oncoming traffic and dart out, is going to do it unless his control of the car is taken over by the computer. Sounds risky to rely on a car's computer to make these kind of decisions. Most of us use a car to get from point A to B and have done so successfully for decades. Besides, the hackers will love this one, especially with the myopic government behind it.

stsk
stsk

While this could be a phenomenal safety advance it is, in light of post-Snowden, post-Google, post-Facebook America, also extremely unlikely this will contribute more to safety than it will the erosion of privacy. The probability of mission creep is, given recent history, an absolute certainty. The fourth amendment has become unthinkably demolished due to a judicial system which has failed to recognize its responsibility and a population with the intelligence of cabbage.


It sounds great that we're potentially less likely to run into one another, but the part that isn't mentioned is the certain availability of data to various government entities, insurance companies, advertisers, law enforcement etc. widening an already extreme asymmetry of power.

BubbaGump
BubbaGump

@stsk I agree with your concerns about the government. However, I don't think most people want a computer operating their cars to this extent. And I've got to wonder how much this will ultimately add to the cost of the vehicle relative to the perceived benefits.

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