Road Tests of Talking Cars

Traffic related accidents are a major concern for governments looking to curb fatalities on the roads. A technology showcased at a recent transportation conference used vehicles that communicated with each other to warn drivers about possible collisions or road mishaps to prevent accidents. The demonstration was also a peek into a government test program of the technology that is expected to be take place this summer in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The technology being tested is called vehicle-to-vehicle communication or V2V and uses wireless networks to communicate with other cars. This link between cars in the same area allows them to relay information about their speed, direction and most importantly location. The system works in a 1000 feet radius around the car and warns the driver through red lights that appear on the wind shield about an impending collision or mishap.

The government of the Unite States will be putting the technology through a real world test by fitting 3000 vehicles on the roads of Ann Harbor with the devices. The drivers will be using the system in every day traffic as the warning system communicates with other vehicles fitted with the same devices. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) will be overlooking the program and evaluating the potential of the V2V system.

Drivers that are chosen by the test program will have their vehicles fitted with three devices. The first device is a Vehicle Awareness Device (VAD) that relays the exact location of the car to other vehicles on the road. Then there is the Aftermarket Safety Device (ASD) that gives the car the ability to receive data from other vehicles and finally the Data Acquisition System (DAS) which records all data. All three of these will work together to offer a warning system for drivers.

The V2V system that is scheduled to be tested is only a piece of the puzzle that researchers wish to study. Other systems are also in development and the potential for creating a better road safety system is on the horizon if the tests go well.

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