Motor vehicle crashes kill over 32,000 people a year and one promising way to reduce fatalities is through new wireless technologies aimed at allowing vehicles to communicate to each other, as well as with local infrastructure. This summer, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be looking at such “connected” systems with ordinary drivers in every day situations to see whether these technologies are safe, reliable, and effective.
The Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot program will look at vehicle-to-vehicle technology, which would allow cars to “talk” to one another and warn drivers of approaching hazards. Applications could include notification that a car is braking aggressively in front of you, warning drivers of hazards going through an intersection, or even assisting a vehicle pass another car safely. (I experienced intelligent vehicles at an event this spring and the technology shows real potential.)
The goal of the new test is to determine how motorists respond to these new safety warnings in their vehicles, how accepting they are of this technology, and if there are any distractions.
The DOT has partnered with Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP), a research organization made up of car manufacturers, including: Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Volkswagen. CAMP will conduct a series of clinics starting in Michigan in August and hitting Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, and California each month through January. These locations represent a cross-section of urban, suburban, and rural areas. They will recruit 100 local drivers to test 24 cars equipped with this wireless safety technology in controlled environments, like race tracks.
A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report found that these connected systems have the potential to address over 80 percent of all unimpaired crashes.
For more information about the clinics and dates see the DOT website.