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First it was electric cars. Now it’s vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V).

The automobile industry is once again the focus of disruptive technology, and it looks like it’s going to stay this way for at least another decade.

In a nutshell, V2V systems allow two cars to talk to each other. When combined with vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) networks, automobiles are able to directly communicate with traffic lights, road signs and even buildings (also known as V2X).

How Does V2V Work?

V2V communication involves two cars that send each other information. Anything related to speed, stability, location, direction and braking can be transmitted. Using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), data is sent from one vehicle to another through a common frequency.

The technology is capable of handling a distance of 300 meters or 1000 feet. When two cars are moving at varied speeds, the calculation comes in at roughly 10 seconds apart. To extend this range, data can hop from one car to another up to 10 times. This would give plenty of allowance for inattentive drivers to react to pile-ups, accidents and bad weather.

“V2V offers things that you just can’t get through on-vehicle sensors, through cameras and radar and lasers and so forth,” highlighted a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) official. “V2V sees around corners, it sees 15 cars ahead in traffic and across three or four lanes of traffic. It sees not only the car that is about to speed into the intersection, but whether the driver has applied the brake or not.”

For now, the technology is still a concept. Testing is being conducted on a handful of prototypes and retrofitted vehicles.

During installment, the promising V2V network will roll out in phases. The first set of releases will only include warning notifications (audio, visual and vibration) inside the car. Later on, automobiles would have the ability to swerve around road hazards automatically and carry out complex commands.

V2V two cars on the road

Government-backed Automobile Technology

The US government has taken a positive stand on V2V implementation. In particular, the Obama administration is urging researchers to speed up the testing and launching of the new technology.

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx revealed the government’s plans to facilitate V2V communication for US manufactured cars during a speech in Silicon Valley. The organization aims to streamline the rulemaking process by laying out transparent requirements for licensing, federal approval and certification. Instead of being a roadblock for the groundbreaking technology, the group will position itself at the front of innovation.

Road safety is the main reason the administration is gung-ho about V2V networks. By implementing the new system, automobile accidents can be prevented. Pedestrians would also have more confidence crossing busy, congested streets.

“Connected, automated vehicles that can sense the environment around them and communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure have the potential to revolutionize road safety and save thousands of lives,” said Foxx.

If all goes according to plan, the nascent technology could go live by 2020. The first V2V-ready car is the 2017 Cadillac CTS, which is due for a release next year.

2017 Cadillac CTS V2V

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