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Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication is Next Step in Auto Safety

V2VCommunication is often cited as being the secret to a successful relationship. It may also be the key to preventing thousands of auto accidents every year.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, is the next big thing in auto safety. In a V2V system, onboard computers communicate wirelessly with each other over distances up to 1,000 feet. These computers monitor relative speeds, distances and direction of similarly equipped vehicles in the area and issue warnings to drivers when they predict a possible collision.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with American, German and Asian automakers to set standards for commercial V2V. Right now, a yearlong test of V2V is under way in Ann Arbor, Mich., involving 3,000 cars, trucks and buses to see how well the system works. If successful, V2V could become standard equipment in all cars sold in America within a decade.

Supporters of V2V believe the system can help drivers in many ways, including:

  • Warning of cars running red lights or stop signs
  • Clearing drivers to make left turns in the face of oncoming traffic
  • Warning drivers when passing is unsafe on two-lane roads
  • Warning drivers when cars ahead of them abruptly hit their brakes
  • Alerting drivers of an approaching vehicle hidden around a corner

Auto safety experts expect second-generation V2V systems to actually take control of a car if collisions appear imminent. The split-second difference between when a computer and distracted human can hit the brakes could easily mean the prevention of thousands of deaths and injuries annually.

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