By Nathan Naylor, February 3, 2014
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today that it
will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication
technology for light vehicles. This technology would improve safety by
allowing vehicles to "talk" to each other and ultimately avoid many
crashes altogether by exchanging basic safety data, such as speed and
position, ten times per second.
"Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto
safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we've
already seen with safety belts and air bags," said U.S. Transportation
Secretary Anthony Foxx. "By helping drivers avoid crashes, this
technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where
they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the
global automotive industry."
DOT research indicates that safety applications using V2V technology
can address a large majority of crashes involving two or more motor
vehicles. With safety data such as speed and location flowing from
nearby vehicles, vehicles can identify risks and provide drivers with
warnings to avoid other vehicles in common crash types such as rear-end,
lane change, and intersection crashes. These safety applications have
been demonstrated with everyday drivers under both real-world and
controlled test conditions.
The safety applications currently being developed provide warnings to
drivers so that they can prevent imminent collisions, but do not
automatically operate any vehicle systems, such as braking or steering.
NHTSA is also considering future actions on active safety technologies
that rely on on-board sensors. Those technologies are eventually
expected to blend with the V2V technology. NHTSA issued an Interim
Statement of Policy in 2013 explaining its approach to these various
streams of innovation. In addition to enhancing safety, these future
applications and technologies could help drivers to conserve fuel and
V2V technology does not involve exchanging or recording personal
information or tracking vehicle movements. The information sent between
vehicles does not identify those vehicles, but merely contains basic
safety data. In fact, the system as contemplated contains several layers
of security and privacy protection to ensure that vehicles can rely on
messages sent from other vehicles and that a vehicle or group of
vehicles would be identifiable through defined procedures only if there
is a need to fix a safety problem.
In August 2012, DOT launched the Safety Pilot "model deployment" in
Ann Arbor, Mich., where nearly 3,000 vehicles were deployed in the
largest-ever road test of V2V technology. DOT testing is indicating
interoperability of V2V technology among products from different vehicle
manufacturers and suppliers and has demonstrated that they work in
In driver clinics conducted by the Department prior to the model
deployment, the technology showed high favorability ratings and levels
of customer acceptance. Participants indicated they would like to have
V2V safety features on their personal vehicle.
"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.
"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."
NHTSA is currently finalizing its analysis of the data gathered as
part of its year-long pilot program and will publish a research report
on V2V communication technology for public comment in the coming weeks.
The report will include analysis of the Department's research findings
in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and
security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits. NHTSA
will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V
devices in new vehicles in a future year, consistent with applicable
legal requirements, Executive Orders, and guidance. DOT believes that
the signal this announcement sends to the market will significantly
enhance development of this technology and pave the way for market
penetration of V2V safety applications.
"We are pleased with the direction NHTSA is taking in terms of V2V
technology," said Greg Winfree, Assistant Secretary for Research and
Technology. "The decision to move forward comes after years of dedicated
research into the overwhelming safety benefits provided by a connected
V2V communications can provide the vehicle and driver with 360-degree
situational awareness to address additional crash situations –
including those, for example, in which a driver needs to decide if it is
safe to pass on a two-lane road (potential head-on collision), make a
left turn across the path of oncoming traffic, or in which a vehicle
approaching at an intersection appears to be on a collision course. In
those situations, V2V communications can detect threats hundreds of
yards from other vehicles that cannot be seen, often in situations in
which on-board sensors alone cannot detect the threat.
NHTSA has worked in close partnership in this research both with
other DOT agencies, including the Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Research and Technology and the Federal Highway Administration, and with
several leading auto manufacturers and academic research institutions,
who have invested significant resources into developing and testing V2V
technology. The collaboration of government, industry and academia is
critical to ensure V2V technology's interoperability across vehicles.
Find more more information on the Department's vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology research.