Cars Are About to Get Chatty

Talking cars could be the first step toward supersafe roads.

In this handout photo provided by Disney and Pixar, (L-R) British spy Finn McMissile, four-time Piston Cup champion Lightning McQueen and his best pal Mater (life-size remote controlled models based on the characters) from Disney and Pixar's 'Cars 2' roll into Bob's Big Boy for a pit stop on June 17, 2011 in Burbank, California.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Feb. 3, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

The road is the new so­cial net­work — and it could save your life. Cars will soon be swap­ping mes­sages at the rate of 10 per second, then bring­ing the driver in­to the con­ver­sa­tion if they de­cide things are get­ting dan­ger­ous.

If the sys­tem works as prom­ised, fed­er­al high­way reg­u­lat­ors be­lieve talk­ing cars could pre­vent or re­duce 80 per­cent of crash scen­ari­os that don’t in­volve im­paired drivers.

The Na­tion­al High­way Traffic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced Monday that it is work­ing to al­low vehicle-to-vehicle com­mu­nic­a­tion and hopes, as the tech­no­logy ad­vances, to “be­gin work­ing on a reg­u­lat­ory pro­pos­al that would re­quire V2V devices in new vehicles in a fu­ture year.”

V2V tech­no­logy would put all equipped cars in com­mu­nic­a­tion with each oth­er, giv­ing them real-time speed and loc­a­tion up­dates for sur­round­ing traffic. If a wreck be­comes im­min­ent, the cars will warn their drivers, with hopes of avert­ing a col­li­sion.

“By help­ing drivers avoid crashes, this tech­no­logy will play a key role in im­prov­ing the way people get where they need to go while en­sur­ing that the U.S. re­mains the lead­er in the glob­al auto­mot­ive in­dustry,” said Trans­port­a­tion Sec­ret­ary An­thony Foxx.

NHTSA act­ing Ad­min­is­trat­or Dav­id Fried­man hailed the de­cision as a mile­stone. “V2V crash-avoid­ance tech­no­logy has game-chan­ging po­ten­tial to sig­ni­fic­antly re­duce the num­ber of crashes, in­jur­ies, and deaths on our na­tion’s roads,” he said. “Dec­ades from now, it’s likely we’ll look back at this time peri­od as one in which the his­tor­ic­al arc of trans­port­a­tion safety con­sid­er­ably changed for the bet­ter, sim­il­ar to the in­tro­duc­tion of stand­ards for seat belts, air bags, and elec­tron­ic sta­bil­ity con­trol tech­no­logy.”

The Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions In­dustry As­so­ci­ation and Cisco — which has worked on con­nec­ted vehicles — praised the an­nounce­ment. Not only will it make cars safer, they said, but it will fi­nally be­gin to util­ize the In­tel­li­gent Trans­port­a­tion Ser­vice spec­trum at 5.9 GHz that was set aside for such use.

For now, talk­ing cars will only be able to alert their drivers to danger, not take evas­ive ac­tion on their own. But get­ting that con­nec­ted vehicle tech­no­logy road-ready could be a huge first step to­ward mak­ing driver­less cars more feas­ible.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×