Department of Transportation Unveils Crash-Prevention Technology

The Department of Transportation on Monday announced plans to enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology (V2V), with a goal of saving tens of thousands of lives per year.

A crash Santa Clara-resident Chris Roffi was in last week in Saratoga could have been prevented if the crash-prevention technology was available.

"A small car came and T-bones me," Roffi said. "I kind of saw it, so I had time to get up onto the median. Still, I got T-boned and two cars got damaged."

Bryant Walker Smith, a fellow at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford said with its ability to share data 10 times per second, including speed and location, V2V could have prevented the crash.

"If her car had the technology and the other car had this technology -- two big ifs -- she would've been told there's a car coming and doesn't appear to be slowing down," Smith said. "And you and your car could've been alerted to stop."

The clincher for the Department of Transportation was a study in Ann Arbor, Mich., where 3,000 cars were outfitted with V2V technology. Drivers were warned of an impending crash via flashing yellow lights inside their vehicles or vibrating driver seats.

Collisions were dramatically reduced, especially rear end, lane change and intersection crashes.

Officials said V2V is new, different technology than the on-board warning systems, such as sensors and radars, already in use.

Officials said the federal government is moving toward installing V2V in new vehicles, with the hope it could reduce the number of unimpaired crashes by 80 percent.

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