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NHTSA Announces Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Policy

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Feb. 4, 2014—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will begin taking steps toward a proposed mandate requiring new vehicles to contain vehicle-to-vehicle technology (V2V), U.S. Department of Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said in a release on Monday.

NHTSA notes that this technology will improve safety by allowing vehicles to “talk” to each other and ultimately avoid many crashes altogether by exchanging basic safety data—such as speed and position—up to 10 times per second.

“Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we’ve already seen with safety belts and airbags,” said Foxx. “By helping drivers avoid crashes, this technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry.”

NHTSA will release a study from a year-long pilot program on V2V in the coming weeks. The study was launched in August 2012 in Ann Arbor, Mich., with 3,000 vehicles. This will be the first step toward developing a federal regulation on V2V policy.

“V2V crash avoidance technology has potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths on our nation’s roads,” said David Friedman, NHTSA acting administrator. “Decades from now, it’s likely we’ll look back at this time period as one in which the historical arc of transportation safety considerably changed for the better, similar to the introduction of standards for seat belts, airbags and electronic stability control technology.”

NHTSA highlights that V2V communications can provide the vehicle and driver with 360-degree situational awareness to address additional crash situations, including those, for example, in which a driver needs to decide if it is safe to pass on a two-lane road (potential head-on collision), make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic, or in which a vehicle approaching at an intersection appears to be on a collision course. In those situations, V2V communications can detect threats hundreds of yards from other vehicles that cannot be seen, often in situations in which on-board sensors alone cannot detect the threat.

Once the NHTSA report is made available on V2V communications, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) will post the information on its legislative website.

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