The US Department of Transportation announced that the government will issue a report in February on vehicle to vehicle communication devices for new cars and light trucks, and then will begin working on a regulatory proposal that will be issued before the end of the Obama administration in 2017.

“Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the lifesaving achievements we’ve already seen with safety belts and air bags,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said during a news conference in Washington, D.C. “By helping drivers avoid crashes, this technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry.”

Using the proposed V2V devices, cars would send and receive information via radio signals to and from other vehicles to monitor a vehicle’s position, heading, and speed 10 times per second, to alert drivers to an impending collision. Eventually, sensors could also allow vehicle-to-pedestrian or vehicle-to-bicyclist communication.

Potential to Save Lives with V2V Technology

“The potential of V2V to save lives is enormous,” said David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. “The results could be revolutionary for roadway safety.”

Analysts estimate that the devices could prevent up to 80% of accidents that don’t involve drunken drivers or mechanical failure. Once automakers start adding V2V technology to all new cars, it would take 15 years or more for half the cars on the nation’s road to be equipped. However, research indicates that safety benefits would be seen with as few as 7% to 10% of vehicles in an area equipped with the technology.

Pilot Program Yields Research Data

Following nearly a decade of research on V2V technology, more than 3,000 vehicles currently have the technology as part of a pilot program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Several automakers have already begun to offer high-tech systems that include active cruise control, lane keeping assistance and blind spot detection systems. The DOT said that V2V data would not include personal details about the driver or vehicle, and would be identified through a defined procedure “only if there is a need to fix a safety problem.”