(Adds details of approval process, paragraphs 2 and 4)
By Elvina Nawaguna
WASHINGTON Feb 3 U.S. regulators are crafting a
rule that would require all new vehicles to be able to "talk" to
one another using wireless technology, which the Department of
Transportation said would significantly reduce accidents on U.S.
roads and alleviate traffic congestion.
A proposed rule mandating so-called vehicle-to-vehicle
communication technology should be put in place before President
Barack Obama leaves office in early 2017, DOT officials said on
"When these technologies are adapted across the fleet, the
results could be nothing short of revolutionary for roadway
safety," said David Friedman, acting administrator of the DOT's
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If a rule is proposed, it would then go through a public
comment period that typically lasts about 90 days. The agency
would then review the public's comments or concerns before
publishing a final rule.
Mandating the use of technology once thought to be
science-fiction will "pave the way for market penetration of
vehicle-to-vehicle safety applications," the DOT said in a
This "V2V" technology allows cars on the road to trade basic
safety data, such as speed and position, at a rate of ten times
per second. This exchange of information might help avoid or
reduce the severity of 80 percent of crashes that occur when the
driver is not impaired, NHTSA said.
"Think of all the everyday situations that this technology
could help with; when folks pull up to a four-way stop, driving
behind a big truck or an SUV that limits your visibility or even
making a lane change and a car moves into your blind spot," U.S.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told a news conference.
This data does not include personal details about the driver
or vehicle, the DOT said. Vehicles or a group of vehicles can be
identified through a defined procedure "only if there is a need
to fix a safety problem."
The announcement comes as NHTSA finishes its analysis of
data gathered during its year-long pilot program of V2V
technology in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In that program, U.S. officials and the University of
Michigan outfitted nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses with
wireless devices that tracked other vehicles' speed and
location, and alerted drivers to congestion.
Those findings, as well as a preliminary estimate of the
costs of this technology, will be published in coming weeks.
An industry trade group aligned with auto manufacturers said
it is willing to explore the idea but that a lot of questions
remain. "Many pieces of a large puzzle still need to fit
together," said Gloria Bergquist, head of communications for the
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
"What remains to be addressed is security and privacy, along
with consumer acceptance, affordability, achieving the critical
mass to enable the 'network effect' and establishment of the
necessary legal and regulatory framework," she said.
"Automakers have invested significantly in safety technology
and systems, and we will review today's announcement and engage
with NHTSA in next steps."
(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna in Washington and Deepa
Seetharaman in Detroit; editing by Matthew Lewis)