You may already experience your GPS telling you about upcoming accidents and slowdowns. In those situations, it will shift your directions to help you avoid heavy traffic. Or maybe you already have a feature on your vehicle like a warning that lets you know if a car is next to you when you want to pass or shift lanes.
Keeping in mind these technologies, imagine this future scenario. You’re driving and approaching an intersection. There’s a stop sign, and you’re ready to drive on through after you stop. Suddenly, your car seat vibrates and your dashboard flashes a warning for you to stop. You do. Sure enough, from around a corner a car speeds past—a car that would have collided into you if you didn’t have the warning system.
As good as this sounds, experts say it could be up to 10 years before what’s known as “vehicle to vehicle” technology is seen in nearly all cars. But it’s coming. Not only has some of the technology already been developed but the United States Department of Transportation is also pushing hard on making this technology mandatory—similar to seat belts and airbags. That’s because studies show that vehicle fatalities and accidents could get significantly reduced, and so the government is pushing for these regulations to help reduce road deaths and injuries.
Mainstream news outlets are now reporting on vehicle-to-vehicle technology, and so you’ll start to hear more buzz about it. But as excited as people are getting, here are a few key points about the technology to keep in mind.
Vehicle-to-vehicle technology wouldn’t be possible without the same kind of technology that gives us wireless Internet. Not to get too technical, but basically there will be “nodes” located within vehicles and on the sides of the road that will transmit, share, and collect information all of the time. These nodes use dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology that helps communicate information about your vehicle (like your location or how fast you are going), other vehicles, and road conditions (such as safety alerts or traffic updates).
Obviously, human error causes most vehicle accidents, deaths, and injuries. No matter how good you are as a driver, there are things you just cannot predict or anticipate such as obstacles in the road or cars that hurdle at you from out of nowhere. Because vehicle-to-vehicle technology will collect and share information with you that you cannot normally get on your own, you will be warned about important safety issues. Because most accidents are caused when drivers leave the roadway (such as passing or changing lanes) or enter an intersection, vehicle-to-vehicle technology will help prevent many such accidents before they occur.
A nice benefit of vehicle-to-vehicle technology is helping you find the best traffic route in real time. This will save you time and gas money if you’re constantly taking the best routes. The technology will especially help in rerouting traffic in case of a major accident or slowdown.
What’s happening with driverless cars? Good question. Google has received a lot of publicity trying to push the idea of driverless cars. While the technology sounds amazing and futuristic, it’s running into a lot of major problems. For example, what happens when a driverless car has to decide between avoiding an obstacle and driving into a group of people on a sidewalk? And who’s responsible for any deaths? No one knows yet. Meanwhile, vehicle-to-vehicle technology is more practical, doable based on current technology, and still leaves driving in the hands of actual human beings.
Despite the government wanting these regulations, car manufacturers wanting to improve their cars, and people getting excited about this technology, it will still take a long time until vehicle-to-vehicle technology becomes standard. Many car companies are still dragging their heels and saying they will only install this technology with consumer demand. And the road nodes still need to get built. Similar to other technologies like wireless coverage, expect a slow rollout starting in limited locations, then major cities, and then finally throughout the rest of America.
Even though it may be many years before we see this technology, it’s exciting to know that it will eventually improve road safety. Too many accidents already occur every year, and it’s sad how many deaths and injuries happen on the roads. We’re eager to see how fast this vehicle-to-vehicle technology actually develops. The sooner it happens, the more deaths and injuries will be prevented.
Before this technology takes place in all cars, if you are involved in a car accident, call us for a free consultation.