Cars Talking to Each Other: Myth or Reality?

One might say that communication, as a way of exchanging information between the sender and the receiver, is peculiar to human beings and animals only; however, there are examples that prove that non-living things can communicate between each other, too. Just think of inanimate objects like mobile phones and computers - they are involved in a wireless communication through networks. Nonetheless, the end of the list is not there. The latest trends in the automotive industry show that automobiles will start talking to each other, as well.

In the desire to prevent crashes and improve road safety, a technology called Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications (V2V) is soon to become mandatory on the US roadways. Basically, the system is designed in a way as to enable a wireless communication between nearby motor vehicles (within the range up to 300 yards). Having a radio transponder as part of the obligatory equipment, all vehicles (cars, trucks, buses and trains) will be able to warn the motorists of potential perils and consequently they will be able to take certain pre-emptive steps thus avoiding traffic accidents. To be more precise, they will be able to exchange data on speed and positioning,  alert each other when they come across an obstacle or warn about lane changes and the driver himself will be warned by a flashing message or an audible warning.

The vehicular real time communication is accomplished using the Dedicated Short Range Communications standard and there are many universities (i.e. University of California, Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA) and car manufacturers (i.e. Ford, Honda, GM, BMW) that are constantly working on improving it. They have all joined forces in order to achieve a common goal - creating safer driving conditions especially now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated  that this intelligent transport system could reduce fatal traffic crashes up to 80%.

Yet, in order for this initiative to be fully operable, a critical mass of motor vehicles equipped with V2V technology has to be attained, which could be a process that takes many years. Once adoption becomes widespread, the benefits are to be expected within 8 years.

As for some long term plans, the next phase of the development of V2V technology could lead to fully autonomous motor vehicles, with California, Nevada, Florida and Michigan already having passed laws allowing self-driving cars to be tested on public roads.

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