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From Products Liability Law Daily, February 3, 2014

NHTSA moving forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology

By Joe Bichl

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles, according to an agency announcement. This technology would allow vehicles to “talk” to each other, exchanging safety data such as speed and position (NHTSA News Release, No. 05-14, February 3, 2014).

Research gathered from “real-world and controlled test conditions” has indicated that communications from V2V technology can help drivers identify risks by providing them with warnings to avoid other vehicles in common crash scenarios such as rear-end, lane change, and intersection crashes, NHTSA reported.

V2V advantages. According to the agency, V2V communications can provide the driver with “360-degree situational awareness” to address crash situations, such as when a driver needs to decide if it is safe to pass on a two-lane road; make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic; or when a vehicle approaching at an intersection appears to be on a collision course. In these types of situations, the V2V technology can detect threats hundreds of yards from other vehicles that cannot be seen.

“V2V crash avoidance technology has game-changing potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths on our nation's roads,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman in an agency release. “Decades from now, it's likely we'll look back at this time period as one in which the historical arc of transportation safety considerably changed for the better, similar to the introduction of standards for seat belts, airbags, and electronic stability control technology.”

Technology under development. The safety applications currently being developed would provide warnings to drivers of “imminent collisions” but would not by themselves operate any vehicle systems, such as braking or steering. NHTSA is also considering for future action safety technologies that rely on on-board sensors but such technology is not currently under development.

Privacy issues. V2V technology does not involve exchanging or recording personal information or tracking vehicle movements, NHTSA stated. The data exchanged between vehicles does not identify the vehicles, but contains basic safety information. The agency notes that the system as it is currently being considered involves “several layers of security and privacy protection” to ensure that vehicles can rely on messages sent from other vehicles and that only in situations where there is a need to fix a safety problem and only through defined procedures would a vehicle be identifiable.

MainStory: TopStory NHTSANewsStory MotorVehiclesNews

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