Government To Require Cars Be Able To Talk to Each Other

All new cars and light trucks would be able to talk wirelessly with each other, with traffic lights and with other roadway infrastructure under a rule the Transportation Department proposed Tuesday. Officials say the technology holds the potential to dramatically reduce traffic deaths and transform driving.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or V2V, enables cars to transmit their locations, speed, direction and other information ten times per second. That lets cars detect, for example, when another vehicle is about to run a red light, is braking hard, changing lanes or coming around a blind turn in time for a driver or automated safety systems to prevent a crash.

The technology has the potential to prevent or mitigate the severity of up to 80 percent of collisions that don't involve alcohol or drugs, officials said.

"V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We are carrying the ball as far as we can to realize the potential of transportation technology to save lives."

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said it is reviewing the proposal, but sees V2V as complementary to automated safety features that are increasingly being added to vehicles.

Automakers and the government have been working together on developing technology for more than a decade. Under the department's proposal, V2V systems would be required to "speak the same language" through standardized messaging.

The Federal Highway Administration plans to separately issue guidance to help transportation planners integrate two-way wireless technology into roadway infrastructure such as traffic lights, stop signs and work zones. Cars could communicate information on road conditions to the infrastructure, which could then be passed along to other vehicles as they come along. Traffic lights would know when to stay green to avoid unnecessary waiting and reduce congestion.

There is a 90-day comment period, and officials said they expect it will be about...

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