It seems like something out of a science-fiction movie: cars that can talk to one another, working together to prevent car accidents and keep their occupants safe. Yet that technology is not a product of Hollywood special effects, but exists in the real world, and it won't be too long before it comes standard in all new vehicles sold in Pittsburgh and throughout the country.
Called vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, the technology uses wireless networks to allow vehicles to "talk" to one another, exchanging information on speed, direction and location with other cars that are up to 1,000 feet away. For example, the technology allows vehicles to sense when other cars are running red lights or stop signs, and tells drivers when they don't have time to make a left turn before another vehicle comes through the intersection.
It also warns when passing is unsafe on a two-lane road because of oncoming cars, even when those vehicles are around a curve and unseen by the driver. V2V may even allow cars to "talk" to traffic lights, signs and roadways, if state and local governments install similar technology into their transportation systems.
Of course, it will be some time before V2V becomes standard in new cars, and the technology won't be fully functional until it exists in a large number of vehicles on the road. That could take several decades.
However, there were more than 7,800 fatal car accidents in. in 2010, and more than 32,000 people were killed on U.S. roadways last year. Transportation officials hope that, as the new technology becomes more widely available, these numbers decrease dramatically.
Source: Associated Press, "Cars avoid crashes by talking to each other," Joan Lowy, June 8, 2012