To Prevent Crashes, Your Future Car Will Chat With Other Vehicles
20 August 2013 - Wired.com
Get ready for it: Soon your car will keep tabs on you and chat about you with other vehicles.
As part of a Department of Transportation study, around 3,000 gossipy vehicles have been tooling around Ann Arbor, Michigan, sending out messages announcing where they are. The goal of the $25 million project, which just wrapped, is to evaluate systems that broadcast data packets called Basic Safety Messages. Around 300 of those autos will also receive messages that tell them the speed and location of every other car within roughly 1,000 feet—if they’re about to rear-end another car in the program, warnings go off. “It’s startling if you’re daydreaming,” says former U.S. secretary of transportation Ray LaHood, who test-drove a study car. (His was specially built, but most of them had aftermarket kits.) Vibrating seats, alarms, and flashing lights kept him in line through blind spots and lane changes. When the system finally hits the streets, it could cut the number of road deaths and injuries — a figure that reached 2.2 million in 2011. “At every opportunity for an accident, technology prevents you from having that accident,” LaHood says. Don’t underestimate us, Mr. Secretary. Sadly, we’ll probably still find a way to crash our cars, no matter how much they yap and yammer.