The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) on Tuesday proposed a rule to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in new cars. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the technology could reduce the severity of up to 80 percent of crashes where alcohol is not a factor.
The move comes at a time when individual states are working out their own regulations to govern fully and semi autonomous vehicles. Regulators are proposing to give automakers at least four years to comply from the time the rule is finalized.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes GM, Toyota, Volkswagen and many others, said vehicle-to-vehicle communication is already being tested. The group said it would study the proposal before commenting on the matter.
Ninety Day Window
The announcement starts a 90 day window for public comment on the proposed rules to govern V2V technologies. Following this period, the NHTSA will review the feedback and adjust the proposal as needed before delivering a final ruling on the requirement.
The goal of the technology is to warn motorists of unseen hazards, in conditions such as intersections, or overtaking a truck on a two-lane road for example, the officials say. Earlier this year, a 2015 Tesla Model S was involved in a crash in Florida. The Tesla Model S failed to apply its brakes and struck an 18-wheel tractor-trailer that was turning left in front of it. This prompted an investigation from the NHTSA.
According to the Financial Times, a further rule mandating communications between light vehicles and transport infrastructure is expected to be published before the Trump administration comes into office next month.
There were more than 6 million fatalities on U.S. roads last year. In October, the NHTSA said traffic deaths had jumped 10.4% in the first six months of 2016. "From a safety perspective, this is a no brainer,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind assured worried consumers that vehicles would protect privacy by only exchanging safety information and would ensure hackers can't intercept signals. He said the NHTSA is also working to make sure the system is safe from a cybersecurity standpoint to ensure the data sent is protected from any digital attacks.
The technology will have a range of about 300 meters, and will transmit data about as location, direction and speed to nearby vehicles. That data will be broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles, allowing them to identify risks and provide warnings to drivers to avoid imminent crashes.
What’s the likely timeline for this technology? Finalization is expected to take about a year. However, half of all new cars would have to comply with the rule within the first two years of adoption.
The automotive vehicle-to-everything market is projected to grow at a significant rate over the coming years. According to new market research on the subject, the market is valued at $767 million and will reach $2.8 billion by 2022.
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