In a speech earlier this month, President Barack Obama praised newly-developed “vehicle to vehicle” technology that could reduce traffic deaths by up to 80 percent. America averages 32,000 road deaths and 2 million injuries per year, to the tune of more than $800 billion.
Saving Lives Through Technology
Obama stated that this technology has the potential to not only save countless lives, but also cut down on fuel waste and carbon emissions by helping reduce traffic congestion. The president’s speech was aimed at “vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology to improve safety and mobility on our nation’s roadways and help reduce wasted fuel,” the White House stated.
The president “drove” a simulator that showcased the technology, which allows cars to “talk” to each other to help avoid crashes. After a lead-footed, nearly 90 MPH cruise through virtual streets and highways, Obama likened the simulator to KITT from Knight Rider.
Vehicle-to-vehicle technology involves cars sending wireless signals to each other constantly, helping alert the vehicles themselves to potential hazards—even from hundreds of yards away. A recently completed 12-month study conducted in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area tested the technology. More than 60,000 safety messages were relayed between participating vehicles during the testing period.
“As the father of a daughter who just turned 16, any new technology that makes driving safer is important to me,” Obama said. Teenaged drivers far and away account for the highest number of traffic fatalities every year.
US DOT Proposal Coming Soon
Piggybacking off of the president’s statement that, “New technology that makes driving smarter is good for the economy,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated that he will unveil a proposal that will require the technology in all new vehicles no later than early 2017.
“Talking cars are not just science fiction,” Foxx said. With the ability to communicate with one another, V2V-equipped cars and trucks could potentially prevent up to 80 percent of crash deaths not involving alcohol or fatigue.
Research and development of the new V2V technology is being conducted via a partnership between the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and eight major automakers, among them Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz.
- The Detroit News: “Obama touts ‘vehicle to vehicle’ technology, urges for road repair funding”
- The Huffington Post: “Obama Touts Government, Industry Gains Toward ‘Talking Cars'”