The government is proposing that all new cars and light trucks be able to talk wirelessly with each other, with traffic lights, and with other roadway infrastructure. Officials say the technology holds the potential to dramatically reduce traffic deaths and transform driving.
Vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or V2V, enables cars to transmit their locations, speed, direction and other information ten times per second. That lets cars detect when another vehicle is about to run a red light, for example, in time for a driver to prevent a crash.
Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, or V2I, is when cars are able to communicate with infrastructures to supply information to the driver. For example, Audi recently became the first automaker to implement a V2I infrastructure in Las Vegas where some Audi cars talk to traffic lights to warn drivers when the light will turn green.
The Transportation Department’s proposal requires that V2V systems “speak the same language” through standardized messaging the government has developed with the industry.
Automakers have said the technology is ready for the road, but they’ve been waiting for government regulations to ensure compatibility.
The 2017 Mercedes E-Class is actually being built with V2V capabilities, but it only works at communicating with other E-Class cars on the road. The government is proposing that cars and light trucks could talk to each other outside of their specified brand.
Data gathered by V2V could also help self-driving cars navigate more easily by allowing them to collect information on traffic flow, accidents up ahead, and even incelement weather.
The Department of Transportation noted that personal privacy will be protected and that the communication channels wouldn’t be used to share private information.