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 2:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
Last but not least:
"Having speed zones signs send information to your car that would limit your speed to the current limit would kill income for local police who would write speeding tickets, same for the traffic lights sending information to make your car stop in time to avoid running a red light."

Get rid of the freaking traffic cops. Their job was initially designed to regulate traffic, now their job is simply to write tickets. It's the most inefficient tax revenue system I've ever heard of, they should all be repurposed immediately.

Here's a prime example from several years ago. I was on my way to work, an hour long commute, and on a single lane road there was an accident at a bridge I usually take to get to work. So the police officer redirects traffic down another road... where there is another accident!!! Now that police officer could have been directing us just one street up, and we would have completely avoided yet another accident delay, but no, we were directed to get slowed down by yet another accident. Police were on that scene as well, taking care of business, as we all slowly went about our way. We finally make it past the second accident, and now we're all waiting to turn left to get to where we wanted to go in the first place. We had absolutely no assistance from the police, despite the fact that there was now an exceptionally long line to turn left onto a busy road without a traffic light. We finally... finally turn left, after waiting forever in traffic from two accidents, and without assistance getting onto this busy road, and guess what we see? Literally, the very next neighborhood on the left, there is a cop waiting with a radar gun trying to catch speeders. Of course everyone is in a hurry &*$(@*$ we just spent ten minutes trying to make a left turn. Maybe we wouldn't be speeding, if you had been directing traffic... you know, like a traffic cop?

Moral of the story? Traffic cops aren't useful, they are incredibly inefficient revenue collectors, and as soon as we can eliminate that position we should. I'm not saying the people aren't useful, I've only ever encountered one mean police officer. I'm saying these people are being wasted on traffic duty. Let cars regulate themselves, and then maybe we can have current traffic cops focus on things like... I don't know, let's just throw something out there; murder, rape, theft and battery. Sound good?

RE: Good idea but,
By JediJeb on 1/26/2011 3:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well the bit about losing revenue was a joke, seems you didn't catch that. I have no problem with cars knowing what the speed limit should be and limiting themselves to it. That would keep those who have complete disregard for the laws in check, and those who happen to innocently miss a speed zone sign from getting a ticket. But until computers advance a lot more, we are not going to be able to have them driving our cars for us except in very tightly controlled situations. Those tight controls will not happen either until all cars on the road are computer controlled, and unless we are ready to hand out new cars to everyone that won't happen for quite a while.

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