U.S. DOT advances mandate for vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology

V2V technologies could mitigate the severity of up to 80% of non-impaired crashes, DOT states.

GAO analysis of Department of Transportation

Looking to put a high-tech solution to a deadly problem the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a proposed rule to standardize the development and implementation of vehicle communications technologies in cars and trucks. The idea is to enable a multitude of new that could save lives by preventing “hundreds of thousands of crashes every year by helping vehicles “talk” to each other,” the DOT stated.

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The proposed rule would require automakers to include standardized vehicle-to-vehicle

V2V technologies in all new light-duty vehicles. The rule proposes requiring V2V devices to communicate through standardized messaging technology. The Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that safety applications enabled V2V could eliminate or mitigate the severity of up to 80% of non-impaired crashes, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes.

Some of the specifics in the proposed law include:

  • V2V devices would use the dedicated short range communications (DSRC) to transmit data, such as location, direction and speed, to nearby vehicles. That data would be updated and broadcast up to 10 times per second to nearby vehicles, and using that information, V2V-equipped vehicles can identify risks and provide warnings to drivers to avoid imminent crashes.
  • Vehicles that contain automated driving functions—such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control—could also benefit from the use of V2V data to better avoid or reduce the consequences of crashes.
  • V2V communications can provide the vehicle and driver with enhanced abilities to address additional crash situations, including those, for example, in which a driver needs to decide if it is safe to pass on a two-lane road (potential head-on collision), make a left turn across the path of oncoming traffic, or determine if a vehicle approaching an intersection appears to be on a collision course. In those situations, V2V communications can detect developing threat situations hundreds of yards away, and often in situations in which the driver and on-board sensors alone cannot detect the threat.
  • V2V technology does not involve the exchange of information linked to or, as a practical matter, linkable to an individual, and the rule would require extensive privacy and security controls in any V2V devices.

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The National Transportation Safety Board says that applications facilitated by V2V could include:

  • Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) that warns the driver when it is not safe to enter an intersection because of high potential for colliding with one or more vehicles.
  • Left Turn Assist (LTA) warns the driver there is high probability they will collide with an oncoming vehicle when making a left turn. is especially critical when their line-of-sight is blocked by a vehicle also making a left turn from the opposite direction.
  • Emergency Electronic Brake Light (EEBL) warns the driver to be prepared to take action when a V2V-equipped vehicle travelling in the same direction but not in the driver’s line-of-sight decelerates quickly. V2V would allow the driver to “see through” vehicles or poor weather conditions and know if traffic ahead may be coming to an abrupt stop.
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) warns the driver of the risk of an impending rear-end collision with another vehicle ahead in traffic in the same lane and direction of travel.
  • Blind Spot Warning (BSW) provides the driver of a vehicle that a vehicle in an adjacent lane is positioned in a vehicle’s “blind spot” zone. If a driver were to attempt a lane change, Lane Change Warning (LCW) warns the driver of a vehicle during a lane change attempt if a vehicle is present or a vehicle is approaching and will be entering the “blind- spot” zone.
  • Do Not Pass Warning (DNPW) warns the driver that it is not safe to pass a slower-moving vehicle because the vehicles are approaching from the opposite direction.
  • Vehicle cybersecurity is a high priority the NHTSA says. In October 2016, NHTSA issued proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity. e V2V NPRM promotes cybersecurity protection to ensure that V2V technologies are safeguarded from unauthorized access. e current proposed design for the V2V system employs a security level of at least 128-bit encryption and is NIST compliant.  V2V devices, which broadcast and receive DSRC messages; and send/receive messages to/from the Security Certificate Management System for digital security credentials that provide the means of message authentication; and a communications network, which facilitates two-way encrypted communications between an SCMS and a device (and, potentially, roadside infrastructure). 

NHTSA’s preliminary estimates show V2V equipment and supporting communications functions (such as security management systems) would be approximately $341 to $350 per vehicle in 2020, and decrease to approximately $209 to $235 by 2058 as manufacturers gain experience producing the equipment.

“Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind in a statement. “V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold.”

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