Cars That Communicate with Each Other and the Road

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Cars That Communicate with Each Other and the Road

Car manufacturers and the U.S. government are seriously looking into and researching two technologies that would enable future cars to communicate with each other and with objects around them.

Imagine approaching an intersection as another car runs a red light. You don't see them at first, but your car gets a signal from the other car that it's directly in your path and warns you of the potential collision, or even hits the brakes automatically to avoid an accident. A developing technology called Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication, or V2V, is being tested by automotive manufacturers like Ford as a way to help reduce the amount of accidents on the road.

V2V works by using wireless signals to send information back and forth between cars about their location, speed and direction. The information is then communicated to the cars around it in order to provide information on how to keep the vehicles safe distances from each other. At MIT, engineers are working on V2V algorithms that calculate information from cars to determine what the best evasive measure should be if another car started coming into its own projected path. A study put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010 says that V2V has the potential to reduce 79 percent of target vehicle crashes on the road [source: Green Car Congress].

But researchers aren't only considering V2V communication, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, or V2I, is being tested as well. V2I would allow vehicles to communicate with things like road signs or traffic signals and provide information to the vehicle about safety issues. V2I could also request traffic information from a traffic management system and access the best possible routes. Reports by the NHTSA say that incorporating V2I into vehicles, along with V2V systems, would reduce all target vehicle crashes by 81 percent [source: Green Car Congress].

These technologies could transform the way we drive and increase automotive safety dramatically. Good thing car companies and the government are already working to try to make this a reality.

All of this communication and preemptive vehicle assistance leads us into our next future technology, so go on to the next page to find out what it is.

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