If you own a car, and have blessed it with a name, there’s a decent chance you occasionally talk to your car, and a great chance it doesn’t talk back. But cars can “talk,” in a sense. They can tell you when to check their engines, or when the gas tank is low, or when they’re overheating. Now, the United States Department of Transportation wants them to talk to each other.
On Tuesday, the U.S. DoT announced the regulation proposals, which it believes will help reduce the frequency of car crashes. The U.S. DoT wants “vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology on all new light-duty vehicles.” If all cars had this technology, there would presumably be almost no car accidents: Each car would understand where others were, what actions their drivers were taking, when there were slowdowns or hazards up ahead, and so on.
So when could this happen? “Assuming a final rule is issued in 2019, this would mean that the phase-in period would begin in 2021, and all vehicles subject to that final rule would be required to comply in 2023,” reads the proposal.
With a Trump presidency looming, regulation ideas like this might not have much of a chance of passing, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be effective. Namely, they’d prevent traffic fatalities, says National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Mark Rosekind.
“Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways,” Rosekind says. “V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold.”
Here’s how the technology works:
V2V devices would use the dedicated short range communications to transmit data, such as location, direction and speed, to nearby vehicles. That data would be updated and broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles, and using that information, V2V-equipped vehicles can identify risks and provide warnings to drivers to avoid imminent crashes.
So when could this happen? The DoT regulation proposal announced on Tuesday is open for comment for 90 days.