Obama Backs Cars That Talk to Each Other


  • Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technology Picture

    Vehicle-To-Vehicle Technology Picture

    President Obama praised advances in vehicle-to-vehicle technology. | July 16, 2014

Just the Facts:
  • President Obama praised advances in vehicle-to-vehicle technology that would let cars communicate with each other in a speech on Tuesday.
  • "New technology that makes driving safer is important to me," he said.
  • At the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Obama took a look at a system that enables cars to "talk" with each other to avoid crashes and ease traffic flow.

McLEAN, Virginia — President Obama praised advances in vehicle-to-vehicle technology that would let cars communicate with each other in a speech on Tuesday.

"New technology that makes driving safer is important to me," he said, noting that his daughter Malia just turned 16. "One study shows that Americans spend 5.5 billion hours stuck in traffic each year, which costs us $120 billion in wasted time and gas — that's 800 bucks per commuter."

At the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Obama took a look at a system that enables cars to "talk" with each other to avoid crashes and ease traffic flow.

Saying that he hasn't driven in about six years, the president said he had the chance to sample some recent automotive technology in a simulator at the research center, a part of the Federal Highway Administration that concentrates on developing and implementing innovations in road transportation.

"I just got a tour of a lab where automakers and government researchers team up to create new technologies that help cars communicate with the world around them and with each other," Obama said. "They can tell you if an oncoming vehicle is about to run a red light, or if a car is coming around a blind corner, or if a detour would help you save time and gas.

"And I got to test all this in a simulator.  It was sort of like Knight Rider." 

Various automakers, including Ford and Toyota, are studying "talking" vehicles.

In one unusual approach, Ford is studying communications between space robots and Earth to "enhance future applications of the connected car communications protocol."

Toyota said it is not only studying communication between cars, but also communication between cars and pedestrians.

Vehicle-to-vehicle — or V2V — communication allows cars to communicate electronically with each other and with infrastructure, such as traffic lights and emergency signals. As previously reported by Edmunds, V2V technology has been backed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal agencies as a means of dramatically increasing traffic safety.

Another benefit of V2V systems is that they would help redirect traffic around tie-ups, thus reducing gas consumption.

Edmunds says: President Obama has made a clear statement in favor of V2V communication and its potential to both increase safety and save fuel.

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