AirTalk for February 3, 2014

How soon could car-to-car communications transform traffic safety?

People drive on Highway 134 (Ventura Fre

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

People drive on Highway 134 (Ventura Freeway) at the end of the evening rush hour in Glendale, California on September 3, 2010, before the start of the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend.

Would roads be safer, if cars could alert drivers when they were about to hit another car or pedestrian?

Today, the Department of Transportation will announce whether it will require automakers to install car-to-car communication technology, which would transpond the vehicle’s position, location and speed about 10 times a second and communicate it to other cars on the road.

If another car was approaching another car too quickly, the driver would be alerted and in advanced versions of the system, a car would automatically brake to avoid a crash.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  officials say the next 50 years of road safety won’t be focused on surviving crashes, but rather on avoiding them. Some estimate show up to 80 percent of accidents that don’t involve impaired driving or mechanical issues could be avoided.

It may take years for all cars on the road to be equipped, but cell phone technology could help bring the technology to cars that don’t have built in equipment. How effective is this technology? What is the critical mass to making

Guest:

Damon Lavrinc, Transportation Editor, WIRED magazine


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