Feds seek input on potential smart car regs

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking input on potential regulations of cars that communicate with each other while they are on the road. 

The so-called smart cars, which utilize what's known in the auto industry as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, are seen as a potential game changer in reducing the number of car accidents in the U.S. 

The Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an advance notice of proposed rule-making about possible V2V regulations. The notice came alongside a “comprehensive research report” on the potential benefits of the new technology. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“Safety is our top priority, and V2V technology represents the next great advance in saving lives,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

“This technology could move us from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether — saving lives, saving money and even saving fuel thanks to the widespread benefits it offers,” he added.

The DOT said Monday that vehicle-to-vehicle technologies like Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) could help prevent 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 drivers’ lives per year. 

“Put another way, V2V technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes that would otherwise occur by providing advance warning,” the agency said.

“LTA warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction and IMA warns them if it is not safe to enter an intersection due to a high probability of colliding with one or more vehicles,” the news release continued.

“Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.” 

NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said the technology could make U.S. roads safer to drive on. 

“By warning drivers of imminent danger, V2V technology has the potential to dramatically improve highway safety,” Friedman said in a statement. “V2V technology is ready to move toward implementation and this report highlights the work NHTSA and DOT are doing to bring this technology and its great safety benefits into the nation’s light vehicle fleet.”

DOT officials stressed that the information that is shared between cars using vehicle-to-vehicle communication does not reveal the identity of the driver to protect their privacy. 

“The information sent between vehicles does not identify those vehicles, but merely contains basic safety data,” the agency said. “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.”