January 25, 2012
Vehicles To Start Warning Each Other Of Collision Risk

Before car computers totally take over the task of driving they will continue to gain more capabilities for accident avoidance. The latest: use of wireless technology so that car computers can know distances and velocity and collision risk of nearby cars.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication—known as "V2V" in the industry—is eagerly anticipated because it could help reduce crashes. The Wi-Fi signals, which go out in all directions, would act like an alert passenger, warning the driver that another car is about to run a red light or that there's a motorcycle in the blind spot. U.S. government researchers estimate that V2V would let drivers avoid or make less serious around 80 percent of collisions.

Just like anti-lock brakes (ABS) and other car risk reduction technologies anything that works well enough will eventually become mandated by regulatory agencies. So perhaps in 10 or 15 years cars will all come with WiFi transmitters and receivers that work to detect dangerous approaches between cars.

One can imagine street lights continuously broadcasting not just their current settings but also when they will change. This will enable better calculations of collision risks.

I expect another benefit: cars approaching a street light will signal asking for a green. If the street light doesn't get similar signals from the cross street it will change to give the green to the approaching car. Newer cars would then again an advantage in getting thru street lights.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 January 25 10:34 PM  Robotics Cars


Comments
PacRim Jim said at January 26, 2012 12:25 AM:

Hackers are already preparing for this.

Ronald Brak said at January 26, 2012 1:17 AM:

Damn those hackers have boring lives.

bbartlog said at January 26, 2012 6:30 AM:

'Newer cars would then again an advantage in getting thru street lights.'
Retrofit, baby. I believe this technology already exists - not quite in the way you describe it but as some sort of emergency vehicle traffic light override.

LarryD said at January 26, 2012 6:47 AM:

Has anyone done any simulations of this, to see if there are any unexpected results? I'd want to, before I implemented this outside of a test track.

David A. Young said at January 27, 2012 9:19 AM:

PacRim Jim: Probably. But if we avoid implemnting every new technology that might be vulnerable to misuse -- then we'll avoid implementing every new technology.

Mike G said at January 27, 2012 10:32 AM:

"But if we avoid implemnting every new technology that might be vulnerable to misuse -- then we'll avoid implementing every new tech"

Isn't that kind of what we do do?

Anyway, even odds this causes more accidents, not less. Human nature seems to be left out of the theory at this point.

Andy Freeman said at January 27, 2012 11:21 AM:

> I expect another benefit: cars approaching a street light will signal asking for a green. If the street light doesn't get similar signals from the cross street it will change to give the green to the approaching car.

Nope. The "new urbanists" will program these lights so they turn red in this situation.

Kukui said at January 27, 2012 11:23 AM:

Most accidents are from human error... forget human nature. Human nature is to talk on the phone or text while driving, put on eye makeup, eat, shave, amongst other things. Even aircraft accidents are far more attributable to human error than mechanical failure or computer error.

Ryan Waxx said at January 27, 2012 12:30 PM:

If cars can talk to each other, then they can be made to talk to the police as well.

But of course, if you have nothing to hide from the government, who always has your best interests at heart, then you shouldn't mind driving a snitch.

muleheadedfarmer said at January 27, 2012 5:52 PM:

I hate those GD traction control systems. Gets me stuck!

Audacious Epigone said at January 27, 2012 6:08 PM:

At some intersections, pedestrian crosswalk lights (or whatever they're called) count down from 15 or 20 seconds whenever the signal is green for traffic running parallel to people on foot who are good to cross. When the crosswalk countdown gets to 0, the green light for parallel traffic switches to yellow. I love these intersections because it helps me drive more efficiently, but it also has the added benefit of helping drivers avoid collisions.

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