Vehicle-to-vehicle communication technologies may have the potential to reduce the number of automobile accidents that occur each year. The US Department of Transportation estimates that nearly one-half of automobile accident fatalities in the country are caused by roadway departures and accidents at intersections. Companies including Apple, Tesla, Google, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Audi, and others are currently developing vehicle-to-vehicle technologies to reduce the rates of these accidents and the serious injuries and fatalities they cause. While the technology is in its early stages now and has been proposed as a viable technology since 2001, the pace of development is quickly increasing. Thus, it is quite conceivable that vehicle-to-vehicle technology will become a standard feature in the not too distant future.
How Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Works
Most of the systems in development rely on short-range radio communications that transmit critical data including vehicle speed and direction of travel between vehicles. These systems have the capability to transmit this data to other vehicles within a roughly 1000 meter radius. Once received, the onboard computer processes the data and determines whether or not other vehicles in the vicinity pose a collision risk. If the computer determines that a vehicle poses a risk, the system sends an alert to the driver notifying the person of the risk. In situations where a collision is deemed imminent, some systems are being designed to override the driver and adjust the vehicle’s acceleration, braking, and direction of travel. This can help reduce accidents caused by road rage, drunk driving, drowsy driving, etc.
The Long Road Ahead
There are a number of challenges that automakers and government agencies need to overcome in order for vehicle-to-vehicle communication to work. Foremost is ensuring that the communications networks are secured and sufficient for the volume of radio traffic. These technologies would also require considerable infrastructure investment in roadside sensors and traffic signal controllers. Another challenge is developing universal standards regarding compatibility and system management. The final challenge is training drivers how to utilize the systems and respond to the warnings they send. Like all technological advancements, this will take time to become part of the common driving culture.
Should vehicle-to-vehicle systems fail to warn a driver of an impending threat, or steer a driver into the path of other vehicles or fixed objects, a car accident lawyer in Tennessee could pursue liability claims against the manufacturer and the automaker.