Cars that Talk to Each Other could Prevent most Accidents

    04 May, 2014


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

    United State officials are close to approving new requirements for enabling vehicles to communicate with each other. Officials hope the new technology will reduce the number of traffic accidents. Automobile manufactures may be required to equip all new cars with what are being called 'vehicle-to-vehicle' communication devices within the next 3 years.

    Vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, is a communication technology. It enables vehicles to share information about their speed and movement at a rate of 10 times a second. Cars will be able to identify possible dangers within about 300 meters. The cars will then warn their drivers or even take action to avoid in accident.

    Cars that Talk to Each Other could Prevent most Accidents
    The feds want to make V2V technology a requirement on all new cars. Image: DOT

    The drivers will be able to see, hear and even feel the warning signals through shaking of the seat. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects the new system to reduce the number of car accidents by as much as 80 percent.

    Greg Winfree is with the U.S. Department of Transportation. He says the new technology will change the way people deal with traffic accidents.

    "The way to look at it is the first 50 years of transportation safety were focused on surviving crashes. We see the future as technology that avoids crashes overall," said Winfree.

    Critics admit that V2V technology is a major development, but they are concerned about possible conflicts with other wireless devices. They say those devices already operate in the wireless frequencies planned for V2V technology.

    Scott Belcher is the chief operating officer of the group Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

    "If somehow we are sharing this spectrum and there's interference and so a car that could have, we could have prevented the crash, we are not able to prevent the crash because someone else is using the spectrum," said Belcher.

    Scott Belcher says people may also be concerned about their privacy. He worries about the possibility of using V2V technology to follow individual drivers and document their driving habits. Government agencies and private industry have already invested almost $1 billion in research.

    U.S. officials expect the new technology will be required in American vehicles by early 2017. They believe it is the first step toward a better and safer transportation system.

    And that's the VOA Learning English Technology Report. For more stories about technology and other subjects, go to our website Give us a like on the VOA Learning English Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter at VOA Learning English. You can also watch videos on the VOA Learning English YouTube Channel. I'm Jonathan Evans.