CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Vehicle-to-vehicle communication — cars that talk to each other to avoid crashes — will begin arriving in 1-2 years and will be breakthrough technology, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The MIT Technology Review has included V2V communication on its annual list of breakthrough technologies, noting that when cars are able to share information with each other wirelessly, road safety could improve dramatically.
The top 10 technologies were chosen because they "will have the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society," MIT said.
According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are more than 5 million vehicle crashes on U.S. roads each year, with more than 30,000 of those resulting in fatalities.
As previously reported by Edmunds, NHTSA announced in 2014 that it was drafting a proposal to require the V2V communication in new vehicles, perhaps as early as 2017. At that time, NHTSA estimated that the technology could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives per year.
Of course, many cars already come equipped with a variety of sensor-based systems that help improve safety. These include forward collision avoidance, automatic braking, sideview assist, adaptive cruise control and parking assist.
But, as MIT points out, "the range of these sensors is limited to a few car lengths, and they cannot see past the nearest obstruction."
With V2V communication, cars will be able to broadcast such information as location, speed, steering-wheel position, brake status and various sensor readings to other vehicles in the area. The other cars can then use that information to detect problems in time to prevent crashes, well before their drivers would even be aware of the danger.
General Motors has been one of the leading automakers to announce concrete plans for implementing V2V systems. As reported by Edmunds, GM has said that the 2017 Cadillac CTS will feature the technology.
Although MIT heralds the breakthrough technology, it admits that there are still "a few obstacles to navigate."
For one thing, V2V will only be effective as a broad network: "Those first Cadillacs will have few cars to talk to, and that will limit the value of the technology. It could still be more than a decade before vehicles that talk to each other are commonplace."
Edmunds says: The inclusion of V2V communication on the MIT Technology Review list underscores both its rapid development and its potential to make our roadways safer.