Print 22 comment(s) - last by amanojaku.. on Jan 26 at 11:29 PM

This technology could address 81 percent of unimpaired vehicle crashes

Imagine driving your vehicle through an intersection as the light turns green, and having your car tell you to hit the brakes immediately. Just as you comply, a car speeds by coming from your left. That car would be in your driver's side door right now had you not listened to your vehicle's request. Now stop imagining, because the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)  announced the Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge today, which will bring Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology to life.  

RITA is a unit of the U.S. Department of Transportation that was created in 2005. It provides transportation statistics and analysis, coordinates research and education programs, and integrates advanced technologies into the transportation system. At the head of the unit's helm is Administrator Peter Appel. 

RITA's Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge is a national competition that is looking for new ideas on how to apply wireless connectivity between vehicles. It is open to all idea innovators whether they work in the transportation industry or not. 

The challenge is specifically looking for applications or product-related ideas that utilize Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), which is a wireless technology that is a faster and more secure version Wi-Fi. DSRC is capable of exchanging messages between vehicles in a fraction of a second without needing any control from the driver. It is also able to do this with a minimal amount of interference. 

With DSRC-based systems, vehicles would not only communicate with each other, but also with the surrounding infrastructure such as traffic signals and work zones. This will allow the vehicle to alert the driver when approaching construction and other driving-related variables. 

"This technology is an opportunity to help create a future where millions of vehicles communicate with each other by sharing anonymous real-time information about traffic speeds and conditions," said Appel. "This new world of wireless communication will make transportation safer, provide better and faster exchange of information for vastly improved daily and long-distance travel, and even reduce environmental pollution."  

Some companies have already started creating technology similar to what RITA is looking for. For instance, CNBC Correspondent Phil LeBeau recently tested a crash avoidance system in Detroit called Intellidrive. The system was created by a dozen major automakers along with the federal government, and utilizes technology that took nine years to develop. Vehicles strictly communicate amongst each other through GPS receivers and Wi-Fi signals, exchanging data about each cars location and speed. With this information, a vehicle can warn the driver of a potential crash before it happens. LeBeau noted that this technology could be available in six to seven years. 

In addition, back in 2006, GM announced that it was looking to create a similar vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) system. The system utilized GPS, Wi-Fi technology, and computer-controlled active safety systems. At that time, it was already being tested on Chevrolet, Cadillac, Saab and Opel models in Germany. 

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other as well as the surrounding infrastructure wirelessly could address 81 percent of all vehicle crashes that are unrelated to impaired driving. 

The Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge will run from January 24 through May 1 of this year, and the winners will receive "funded opportunities" to present their innovative ideas and produce some of the most advanced wireless technology for new vehicles. 

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RE: Good idea but,
By jharper12 on 1/26/2011 2:07:29 PM , Rating: 2
Why aren't we texting while driving yet?!?! Is it because Ray LaHood is too busy bashing technology in cars? People are stupid, slow to react, unconcerned, and evolutionarily ill equipped to drive a 3k to 4k pound machine 70 miles an hour. Cars should be driving themselves, and this should happen ASAP. Maybe a hacker would one day screw with the system and kill a dozen people in the process... SO WHAT?!? In the mean time thousands of lives would have been saved. I'm tired of hearing about rogue hackers when this topic comes up. It's entirely possible to design fail safe after fail safe to greatly eliminate this possibility, and unlike browser fuzzing, people aren't going to be screwing with this system just to see if they can do it. Hackers are primarily motivated by; can I do this? Will it make me or my exploit famous? The great majority would not knowingly cause harm to others, I can't remember the last news cast where a hacker went crazy and bombed an intersection or opened fire on a crowd of people, can you? Stop with the crazy fear mongering, I want to reclaim the four billions hours of lost productivity already. Driving is rules, regulations, and iteration. Didn't we invent something to do that crap for us? That's right, computers. Let computers do the driving, and let me get back to work.

RE: Good idea but,
By JediJeb on 1/26/2011 3:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
I want to reclaim the four billions hours of lost productivity already. Driving is rules, regulations, and iteration. Didn't we invent something to do that crap for us? That's right, computers. Let computers do the driving, and let me get back to work.

Simple, if you worry about losing so much time each day driving to work, just move next door to work and make it a two minute walk, problem solved.

I'm not so much worried about the kiddie cracker hacking into a system like this for kicks, I'm more worried about someone with a terrorist motive who wants to do some serious destruction. Sure someone could come along and drop a bomb in the middle of a busy intersection right now and do the same damage or more, but still every problem will have to be addressed.

People are stupid, slow to react, unconcerned, and evolutionarily ill equipped to drive a 3k to 4k pound machine 70 miles an hour.

I think the millions to billions of miles safely logged each year by professional truck drivers would show otherwise to this, and I doubt you could say any professional race driver was ill equipped for such a task. The human mind and reflexes are very good, just some people can not put them to proper use. I have seen people texting or looking at their iPhones and walk right into trash cans in the mall, should we install smart power chairs in the malls and sidewalks to keep pedestrians from crashing into things? I wonder how well a computer would handle the 6 inches of snow that was on the road this morning I drove through to get to work? How would sliding sideways compute when the tires say the car if moving forward? When the snow has the road down to one lane in places would the computers know how to pull over and take turns getting through the tough spots? Computers driving cars is also one of my futuristic fantasies, but unless you are ready to drive around with a super computer in the trunk I still think humans are better at handling the unexpected. Well unless they are just too impatient to focus on driving.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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