Print 43 comment(s) - last by Jeffk464.. on Dec 19 at 9:48 PM

NHTSA could potentially make them requirements for future cars and trucks

As the year comes to a close, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to announce plans regarding advanced braking systems and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.
According to The Detroit News, NHTSA is due to clarify whether it will make advanced braking systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications requirements for cars and trucks in "the coming days."
Advanced braking systems are a sensor-based technology that can foresee a crash with a pedestrian or another car before it happens, and alerts the driver. It can even automatically apply the brakes before the crash. 
As for vehicle-to-vehicle communications, this technology uses Wi-Fi to allow cars to "speak" to one another as well as their surroundings in order to avoid a crash and improve traffic conditions. For example, your car could let you know that another vehicle ahead is about to blow through a stop sign in an attempt to avoid a crash.
Both have the potential to save lives and make commuting an easier task, which is why NHTSA is expected to either make the technologies requirements for new vehicles, or simply propose add them to the advanced features part of its New Car Assessment program.

Automakers, on the other hand, aren't quite as enthusiastic about the prospect of these technologies becoming requirements. They say such systems could add thousands of dollars to the price of new vehicles, making them more difficult to sell. 

However, many automakers are already working on vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems. For instance, 10 major automakers and technology companies have been working with NHTSA’s Connected Vehicle Research Program since 2012 in a V2V pilot study in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Toyota recently voiced concerns about Wi-Fi messing with vehicle-to-vehicle communications before the House Energy and Commerce panel, suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not allow Wi-Fi to use part of the spectrum designated for automobile systems until tested for safety.

The only collision-avoidance technology NSA has made a requirement at this point is electronic stability control, which stops vehicles from rolling over or leaving a road.

Back in May, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said he would decide by the end of the year whether future cars and trucks would be required to have automatic brakes.

Source: The Detroit News

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By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2013 11:37:04 AM , Rating: 4
So the Government who can't even get a website to work, is going to mandate that my vehicle be networked to every other vehicle out there, and react to them in real-time?

RE: Soooooo
By exeedorbit on 12/18/2013 11:53:15 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds like a killer plan right? This can't possibly fail!

Also... being all connected to a network should make their jobs, of tracking everything and everyone that much easier.


RE: Soooooo
By Flunk on 12/18/2013 12:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
At least the car companies are the ones implementing the technology, barring a few runaway Priuses they have been doing a reasonable job of making safe cars recently.

I'd still put off purchasing a new car until they get all the V1 issues sorted out.

RE: Soooooo
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2013 12:11:28 PM , Rating: 3
At least the car companies are the ones implementing the technology

Yes but it's not the car companies who are the ones deciding if it's ready for prime-time or not.

How is anyone in the Government actually qualified to make that determination?

I would never buy a vehicle with this feature personally. I can already think of every day scenarios where this would actually lead to collisions.

RE: Soooooo
By rountad on 12/18/2013 12:18:36 PM , Rating: 5
There ought to be a different adjective for out of control cars that are as slow as the Prius. Maybe "jogaway".

RE: Soooooo
By DT_Reader on 12/18/2013 2:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'd still put off purchasing a new car until they get all the V1 issues sorted out.
Yes, but in the meantime you'll be sharing the road with them.

RE: Soooooo
By Souka on 12/18/2013 3:38:45 PM , Rating: 2

I drive a 2004 Prius...

In all cases there were plenty of options to stop the vehicle...brake, manual brake, shift to neutral, turn engine off.

On February 8, 2011, the NHTSA, in collaboration with NASA, released its findings into the investigation on the Toyota drive-by-wire throttle system. After a 10-month search, NASA and NHTSA scientists found no electronic defect in Toyota vehicles.[28] Driver error or pedal misapplication was found responsible for most of the incidents.[29] The report ended stating, "Our conclusion is Toyota's problems were mechanical, not electrical." This included sticking accelerator pedals, and pedals caught under floor mats.[30]

RE: Soooooo
By JediJeb on 12/18/2013 3:57:48 PM , Rating: 3
I never could figure out why anyone with the Prius or the Camry would not just stick it in neutral if it was trying to accelerate out of control. Sure you might blow the engine, but at least you wouldn't be crashing going full speed.

RE: Soooooo
By Jeffk464 on 12/18/2013 10:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
They should have rev limiters.

RE: Soooooo
By djc208 on 12/19/2013 8:43:31 AM , Rating: 2
Still, like the idiot that set fire to his car after revving the engine for 20 minutes in "tribute" to the F&F actor, having the engine bounce off the rev limiter for long periods of time isn't good for the motor.

Though assuming you did it right and shifted to neutral to keep the engine running so you had power brakes and steering, and just slowed down, pulled off the road, and shut the engine down within a few minutes you'd probably be OK.

RE: Soooooo
By cruisin3style on 12/18/2013 1:45:56 PM , Rating: 3
the government probably couldn't make a good hamburger either, but i'm glad they established rules for food safety

RE: Soooooo
By Jeffk464 on 12/18/2013 10:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
Actually they make pretty good hamburgers, better than fast food for sure. :)

RE: Soooooo
By ERROR666 on 12/19/2013 11:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you should probably do some research about their rules and american food quality in general before you say it's good.
As far as cars concerned I will avoid this technology as long as it is possible.

RE: Soooooo
By jmarchel on 12/18/2013 3:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
Actually this is the only way it will work correctly. The mandate has to be implemented by private companies that are on the very competitive market. There is a reason why cars are so damn reliable despite numerous government mandates.

RE: Soooooo
By marvdmartian on 12/19/2013 7:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
Can we just force this on the stupid people first? You know...the ones that voted for said government??

I don't know about this
By ctodd on 12/18/2013 12:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
These are the same guys pulling vehicles over and taking "voluntary" cheek swabs and when you refuse they question you before you can leave. I don't trust them, period.

RE: I don't know about this
By boeush on 12/18/2013 5:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
NHTSA =/= Highway Patrol

The former is a Federal agency; the latter is a State law enforcement branch.

So no, these are not "the same guys".

RE: I don't know about this
By Solandri on 12/18/2013 11:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
I think he has a point. Part of the impetus behind this has got to be law enforcement wanting a kill switch in every car to stop police chases. It seems rather likely that there will be a government-held master key for this encrypted V2V communication, along with the capability to deliver an "apply full brakes" command.

RE: I don't know about this
By ctodd on 12/19/2013 12:05:30 AM , Rating: 2
RE: I don't know about this
By boeush on 12/19/2013 7:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
OK then, but technically they're still not the same guys. This was apparently orchestrated by a contractor, that was hired by NHTSA. Not that I disagree that it stank...

The reverse
By kingmotley on 12/18/2013 12:13:09 PM , Rating: 5
I'd be more interested in cars outfitted with V2V that could detect a car in front of me that is slowing down traffic and causing it to automatically applying the gas.

RE: The reverse
By rountad on 12/18/2013 12:20:37 PM , Rating: 2

RE: The reverse
By kwrzesien on 12/19/2013 10:44:14 AM , Rating: 2
Can we at least get some buttons to send a "speed up" signal to the people in front of us?

Maybe a "Like" and "Don't Like" option would be nice, let's see who gets tagged with the most negative feedback and work as a team to block them from changing lanes!

More likely...
By boeush on 12/18/2013 5:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
... or simply propose add them to the advanced features part of its New Car Assessment program
I'd hope for and bet on that one.

A technology should first prove itself and reach a certain state of maturity, before it's turned into a mandate. Otherwise, NHTSA risks jumping the shark by promoting dysfunctional/suboptimal tech...

King of all bad ideas
By Ammohunt on 12/18/13, Rating: -1
RE: King of all bad ideas
By Jeffk464 on 12/18/2013 1:35:30 PM , Rating: 5
You kidding the auto industry has been making car travel safer despite the drivers. ABS brakes, Stability control, air bags, better crash performance, the weak point in road safety is the driver.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Spuke on 12/18/2013 2:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
Jeff's got a point here. The auto industry will do their best to save us from the idiocy of our government.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By aristocat on 12/18/2013 2:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
All the safety features that you mentioned are self-contained entities.

Interconnected automobiles with network based braking is a very bad idea. What this will lead to is some joker with transponder who spoofs the signal/data stream/packets that trigger the action to "apply brakes" to nearby traffic. Those initial cars will apply the brakes, with will trigger following traffic to apply their brakes and so on. If you are clever enough you could bring LA or NYC to a grinding halt, literally.

This would be a great for terrorists or some clown with an axe to grind.

Thanks, but I will definitely pass on this "feature" on future car purchases.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By DT_Reader on 12/18/2013 2:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
You don't even need some joker tampering with the equipment to make this a bad idea. This may work in Vermont or Nevada, but in dense areas this is FAIL. If our cars enforce the "safe following distance" rule of one car length for every 10 mph, the roads won't have capacity for current, let alone future, traffic needs.

Let's suppose they adjust for this, and allow less following distance at highway speeds. Consider this: A line of cars rolling down the freeway, essentially nose to tail. Someone falls back a bit, opening up a gap in front of them. Suddenly someone changes lanes into that gap:
A) Today, a rational human is at the controls. The human assesses the situation and eases off the gas a bit to open up some room.
B) Tomorrow, the cold, calculating car will sense the sudden reduction in following distance and apply the brakes, triggering, at best, a rolling slowdown or, at worst, a major traffic jam.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Mint on 12/18/2013 3:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
This type of technology isn't going to increase following distance. It's going to decrease it.

Alongside reduced crash rates, that's the biggest economic benefit to automated driving. You can pack cars into convoys, maybe even making dedicated lanes for them (or granting carpool access), so that you can get up to 3 cars per second per lane at highway speeds instead of less than 1. Automated braking is a great first step, letting people tailgate in confidence if the car in front is communicating with theirs. As more cars get the tech, traffic improves.

So you're dead wrong. This is an extreme WIN for dense areas.

Yes, there will always be errors when technology fails, but as long as it makes mistakes less frequently than humans, there's no need to complain.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By gamerk2 on 12/18/2013 3:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's the way I see it, though I'd prefer a central server to P2P processing. You could pack cars like sardines, and move them at 90+ MPH, nose to nose.

I mean, we've had autopilot for Jets for decades now, and you have three axiss to worry about, and have to have much finer control adjustments due to speed. Making DAPs for cars is trivial by comparison.

Seriously, if we fitted every car with a transponder, we could automate everything within a decade.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By JediJeb on 12/18/2013 4:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
Fine when all cars have the tech. But there is a very high percentage of vehicles on the road over 5 years old, and many over 10 or even 20 years old. Let one of those vehicles drop into your conga line and see what happens :)

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Mint on 12/18/2013 7:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
In the end it'll probably be a mix of both. You definitely don't want to be dependent on a continuous link to the cloud, but a central controller will help optimize for sure.

P2P will be necessary for the ultra low latency necessary to make sure hard braking doesn't result in an even worse pileup than we already get. Fast optical recognition will be needed, too. With automobiles, you really want as much redundancy as possible to maximize safety.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By JediJeb on 12/18/2013 2:52:46 PM , Rating: 2
I could go for a system that measures the distance from you to the vehicle in front of you and applies the brakes if you are getting too close for the speed you are traveling. Self contained and doing nothing but this. The other systems are just too complicated and open to abuse.

The other problem comes when half of the vehicles are equipped with the new systems and the other half are not. How do the networked vehicles handle being mixed with those that are not networked? Your vehicle knows the next networked vehicle is about 300 feet ahead, but does it know about the other two between you and it and what they are currently doing?

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2013 2:52:50 PM , Rating: 3
I just wonder what happens when your car slams on the brakes for something you otherwise would have avoided? I guess the guy behind you who doesn't have this system rear-ends you. Oh joy...

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Ammohunt on 12/18/2013 4:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine an icy road where you are trying to maneuver and your car and all the ones around you are braking and thanks!

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Jeffk464 on 12/18/2013 10:30:49 PM , Rating: 2
You could shut down the system for extreme road condition but you know the computer is already better at keeping the car from sliding than the driver. ABS and stability control react better and faster than a driver can.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Mint on 12/18/2013 3:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, this communication isn't going to be unsecured, genius. It isn't hard at all to encrypt everything to the point that hacking it is just a waste of time.

Secondly, the communication based braking only needs to brake for 100 ms or so before visual sensors can react and confirm how much braking is needed, if at all.

Finally, the worst case fallback is to just revert to regular driving, not grinding a city to a halt. I bet people like you were railing against cellphones 20 years ago.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2013 4:01:19 PM , Rating: 4
I bet people like you were railing against cellphones 20 years ago.

The Government mandated cellphones?

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Mint on 12/18/2013 8:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see government anywhere in his post. He's against the technology no matter who is involved in it.

But yeah, there needs to be a single standard here. You don't give car makers the freedom to omit or recolor turn signals, brake/reverse lights, etc.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By ERROR666 on 12/19/2013 11:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
Somehow I managed to drive hundreds of thousands miles in different cars and on different roads while not using this technology. Amazingly I am still alive and didn't kill anybody else in process. But now the government thinks that I'm too stupid to stop the car before it crashes. And too stupid to not drive when I'm wasted.
They are obviously right.
May be they should just take my cars, lock me inside the house and put a cop outside. This way I will definitely be SAFE sitting on my chair at home and getting brainwashed by the TV. Because the SAFETY is the most important thing in the world. We're all happy as long as we're safe. Yessss!

RE: King of all bad ideas
By JediJeb on 12/19/2013 2:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it is for the new young drivers who feel they are entitled to be able to drive even if they fail to learn how to drive properly. Heaven forbid we should tell one of them they can't drive because they are not good enough, that might destroy their ego or something.

RE: King of all bad ideas
By Jeffk464 on 12/19/2013 9:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt a lot of this is do to your safe driving but there is also a fair amount of luck involved.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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