Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Data Being Analyzed

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to move forward with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles, the agency announced in February.

The technology would improve safety by allowing vehicles to "talk" to each other and ultimately avoid many crashes by exchanging basic data, such as speed and position, ten times per second. Vehicles can provide drivers with warnings to avoid common crash types such as rear-end, lane change and intersection crashes.

Following a pilot of the technology in Ann Arbor, Mich., where nearly 3,000 vehicles were deployed to road test V2V technology beginning in August 2012, NHTSA is finalizing an analysis of the data gathered.

NHTSA has not commented on whether/when it intends for the technology to be applied to, or required by, emergency response or public safety vehicles. Ann Arbor's director of information technology services reported that buses and police vehicles were being included in the study, and addressed the value of cars being notified of the approach of emergency vehicles.

NHTSA told EMS World on Thursday, “In the coming weeks, NHTSA will publish a research report with our findings and analysis of relevant issues for public comment. The report will cover several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy, security, and the potential benefits of two prototype safety applications.

NHTSA will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles. How those requirements would apply to certain vehicle types will be determined during the rulemaking process.”

According to the agency’s February announcement, testing is indicating interoperability of V2V technology among products from different manufacturers and suppliers and has demonstrated that they work in the real world.

The safety applications currently being developed only provide warnings to drivers—they do not automatically operate any vehicle systems such as braking or steering. However, “NHTSA is also considering future actions on active safety technologies that rely on on-board sensors,” the agency reports. “Those technologies are eventually expected to blend with the V2V technology.”

"V2V crash avoidance technology has game-changing potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths on our nation's roads," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman in a prepared statement. "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."