Cars that ‘talk’ to each other getting safety test in Michigan

About 3,000 vehicles equipped to share information about their speed and location have hit the roads in Ann Arbor, Mich., as part of a research project into so-called connected vehicles.

The wireless technology enables the vehicles and the traffic infrastructure to “talk” to each other in real time to help avoid crashes and improve traffic flow, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is running the test in conjunction with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Passenger cars, commercial trucks and transit buses equipped to communicate, along with roadside data equipment, will be used in the 30-month program starting this week.

The special vehicles will send electronic data messages and receive messages from other equipped vehicles, translating the data into driver warnings of specific hazardous traffic scenarios, the Transportation Department said.


Such hazards include an impending collision at a blind intersection, a vehicle changing lanes in another vehicle’s blind spot, or a rear collision with a vehicle stopped ahead.

“Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety -- but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world,” said David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “NHTSA will use the valuable data from the ‘model deployment’ as it decides if and when these connected-vehicle safety technologies should be incorporated into the fleet.”

This is the largest road test to date of connected-vehicle crash avoidance technology.



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