Everything connected: Your phone, watch, house, and now your car.
The US government is moving forward assertively with a plan and standards that call for personal vehicles to be part of and always connected to a wireless Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) network, constantly sharing information as they navigate roads and intersections.
Preliminary estimates of safety benefits suggest V2V could prevent 600K crashes and save over a thousand lives each year. Additional applications could also help avoid other risks through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.
A live pilot has been underway in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, starting in 2012. In this real-world study, residents are driving nearly 3,000 personal vehicles equipped with V2V safety technology.
V2V-equipped vehicles can perceive some threats sooner than sensors such as cameras, or radar, and warn their drivers with immediate information. V2V can also be combined with vehicle-resident technologies to provide even greater benefits. Road surface sensors in cold climates could transmit warnings on icy conditions miles in advance and rapidly in the face of changing weather conditions. Better to know about black ice before you have the frightening experience of applying the brakes and nothing happens.
The question of privacy rises to the surface. With every private vehicle continuously transmitting GPS location, speed, direction and other information, who manages this data? Do insurance companies or law enforcement agencies have access? And, what happens to the poor pedestrian, when stop lights are no longer needed at intersections and disappear?
Although no dates are mentioned in recent NHTSA announcements, reports have suggested that V2V communications could be mandated as soon as 2017. Rearview cameras will be required in 2018.
The integration of sophisticated technology into the automotive industry will only accelerate. Traditionally, the industry produces products made of steel, glass, and rubber. The future is clearly a world of talented people from computer science, engineering, system engineering, and project management delivering amazing new capabilities and benefits.