Wednesday, September 18, 2013
New Technology: “If Cars Could Talk”…Literally
If your car could talk, besides “wash me”, what would it say? Would it ask you to ease on the brakes once in a while? What about a nice new quart of oil? Would traffic be smoother if cars could communicate with each other? The Department of Transportation hopes to answer this question this summer. In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to have 2,800 cars, trucks, and buses on the streets of Ann Arbor, all fitted with technologies that will alert drivers to road hazards, sudden stops, and blind spots.
“The reason why we are so excited about this is, is that this technology, when fully deployed, can address up to 80 percent of crash scenarios involving not-impaired drivers,” said, NHTSA administrator David Strickland.
Many cars use proximity sensors to alert motorists to nearby hazards, but in this case the augmented vehicles will use traditional GPS and a wireless broadcasting method similar to Wi-Fi to communicate. The DOT has nicknamed the concept “Connected Vehicle Technology”, allowing cars to communicate directly with each other.
According to ABC News: “NHTSA drivers showed reporters how the system could detect an oncoming car around a blind corner. In another scenario the system notified its driver of a car that had suddenly stopped in their lane several vehicles ahead, beyond the motorist’s view. NHTSA said the proximity sensors in many of today’s vehicles would likely have failed these tests without having direct line-of-sight contact. NHTSA says Connected Vehicle Technology should also allow commuters and local governments to view traffic information in real time.”
The project will cost about $15 million, with funding split between the federal government and the state of Michigan.