V2V and the Future of “Talking Cars”

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Today’s vehicles are already quite impressive—with options that allow cars to park themselves, let drivers make hands-free phone calls, or watch movies (while parked, of course). You might wonder how graduates of mechanic colleges or auto design programs could ever dream up ways to top today’s amazing advances. But recent news shows evidence that yes, the next generation in super-smart autos is indeed on its way.

Professionals pursuing auto careers know that many carmakers are testing out tech that gives cars the ability to communicate with each other. What does that mean? Say you’re driving down a highway and you’re in the process of merging into the middle lane, but another car in the left lane has the same plan and starts to merge at the same time— a collision is the most likely outcome. Now, imagine the same scenario, but this time your car “talks” with that other car and either sends you a signal, or reroutes you to avoid the accident. Now that’s an upgrade worth getting!

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology is the transfer of information through wireless signals between cars. Vehicles with this technology have the ability to communicate information about their location, speed and direction. Experts with auto technician training understand how this technology could completely transform the way we interact with our cars, and approach driving. Research on V2V technology has been ongoing for some time now, and prototypes have been developed with special features that offer drivers protection against accidents, including:

  • Emergency brake light warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Intersection movement assist
  • Blind spot and lane change warning
  • Do not pass warning
  • Control loss warning

Talking cars are not purely theoretical or many years away from production. General Motors is already preparing to launch a full line of cars that incorporate V2V. GM is also working with other companies to standardize the technology so it will be compatible with all vehicles.

Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Technology

Of course these new talking vehicles wouldn’t only be communicating with each other. They would also be able to speak to road signs and traffic signals as well. Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology is in the process of being tested alongside V2V. V2I technology would essentially permit a car to request information from a traffic magnetic system and gain access to the best possible road routes to a particular destination. Dangerous intersections would also be made safer through the use of V2I. Infrastructures would be able to warn vehicles to slow down or communicate the status of a traffic light from a distance.

What does the Future of V2V Look Like?

In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a federal mandate that will require all vehicles to have V2V technology installed in order to prevent accidents. According to the NHTSA, the technology could “drastically reduce the number of crashes nationwide, especially in high-risk scenarios such as intersection collisions.” In another report, the NHTSA stated that integrating V2I technology into all vehicles with V2V systems might even reduce all target vehicle crashes up to 81 per cent. However, there is some debate as to whether commuters are on-board with being required to install V2V technology. One commuter objected to the idea of in-car monitoring, comparing the mandate to “implanting a communication chip inside every newborn baby…” A final ruling on the V2V law can be expected in early 2017.

Tell us your thoughts on V2V: potential life-saver or invader of privacy?

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