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Could cars that talk to each other prevent accidents?

Wouldn't it be great if cars somehow could avoid crashing into each other, despite driver negligence? Does that idea sound like something out of a Pixar cartoon? Maybe, but preventing serious car accidents in Ohio through the use of vehicle-to vehicle communication, or V2V, may be the future in automotive safety.

At a recent transportation conference, cars that can actually communicate with each other and warn drivers of impending crashes were part of a safety demonstration.

Such technology may become a reality sooner rather than later. In fact, this summer, 3,000 cars, buses and trucks equipped with the new technology will be tested during a real-world test.

With V2V, motor vehicles can continuously communicate with each other through wireless networks. They exchange such information as location, direction and speed with any other vehicle that has the same equipment and that are within 1,000 feet. Danger warnings are given to drivers, many times before the other vehicle is even in view.

In one safety demonstration, the V2V system alerted a driver that an unseen vehicle was barreling past a large truck and through an oncoming intersection. Although the driver could not have possibly seen the oncoming vehicle, the warning system prompted him to slow down, preventing what certainly could have been a T-bone accident.

It is also possible for V2V cars to exchange information with the infrastructure in a community such as traffic lights, signs and roadways. This could potentially help with alerting drivers to accidents, obstructions and congestion on the roadway.

Is V2V the answer to how to prevent motor vehicle accidents in Ohio? Will drivers be able to respond to the warning signals given by the system? If the answer to these questions is yes, then perhaps many lives may be saved, and many serious injuries avoided.

Source: Associated Press, "Cars that avoid crashes by talking to each other," Joan Lowy, June 8, 2012

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