Car accidents remain one of the leading causes of injuries and death in California and across the country. But what if they ceased completely? What if cars avoided collisions altogether? Sound far fetched? It's not as crazy as you think.
Advancements in technology could make this possible within the next few years. But if you think such changes could become a reality due to self-driving cars, think again. The technology driving such innovation involves V2V devices, which stands for "vehicle to vehicle."
Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an initiative to have vehicles equipped with V2V technology, according to an announcement from the NHTSA. If adopted, these rule changes could result in all new vehicles being equipped with V2V devices within 5 years, according to Time Magazine.
Understanding V2V technology
V2V technology works by having vehicles "talk" with each other using short-range communication devices which are automatically initiated when vehicles come within a specified distance of each other.
Vehicles equipped with V2V devices could also communicate with stationary objects equipped with similar devices. A stop sign or traffic light, for example, equipped with a V2V device could alert a driver and even remotely apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
"Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in the NHTSA announcement. "V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold."
Pros, cons of V2V technology
The benefits of V2V technology could be tremendous. Some of the possible benefits of V2V technology outlined by Wired Magazine could include:
- Vehicles automatically brake to avoid a crash with another car
- Notifications of traffic jams or accidents and suggested alternate routes
- Improved traffic flow
- Increased fuel efficiency
- Personalized real-time information provided to drivers, including:
- Precise driving times
- Upcoming appointments
- Schedule changes based on emails, text messages or phone calls
However, it would be naïve to think that V2V can solve all road-related problems. Some of the possible downsides to V2V technology as outlined by The Car Connection include:
- Increased cost - Cars could cost as much as $150 to $300 more according to estimates by the Department of Transportation.
- Internet hacking - Since V2V devices share electronic information remotely, it's important to consider the risk of such devices being subject to a computer hacker. The Department of Transportation insists that internet firewalls will protect V2V devices from being hacked. But such a scenario can never be completely ruled out. And if that happened, a driver's personal information could be at risk. Even worse, a cyber attack could result in a hacker remotely taking control of the vehicle to intentionally cause a collision.
No technology is foolproof. A fatal car accident in May 2016 involving a self-driving car illustrates just how dangerous vehicles continue to be despite technological advances. When accidents occur, it's always important to consult with an auto accident attorney who understands the law and has extensive experience dealing with such complicated cases.