There was a time when cars that talked to each other were seen only in movies, but if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has its way, all new vehicles might be required to have vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication capabilities by 2023. It is still in the proposal stage, but if the proposal goes through. It is likely come into effect in 2019. Automotive manufacturers will be given a few years to slowly incorporate this technology into their fleets. Hence, it is quite likely that all vehicles will be required to talk to each other by 2023.
The rule will not only make it compulsory for all vehicles to have this technology but will also standardize the messages that vehicles will share. The wording of the proposal is that every vehicle should have a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) unit which sends out and receives basic safety messages (BSMs). These messages are basic in every sense of the word and can include data like speed, brake status, and heading. There is no need for concern about privacy issues as the proposal specifically mentions that “NHTSA purposely does not require some elements to alleviate potential privacy concerns.” The only goal is to ensure that the vehicles share the same language and have the capability to communicate effectively using the short, standardized messages.
Another requirement that is likely to be a part of the rule is that all vehicles be able to receive over-the-air security and software updates, with “consumer consent … where appropriate.” NHTSA would also like to see firewalls built into vehicles between the V2V modules and other connected modules in the vehicle to minimize the risk of miscreants accessing other systems.
V2V is expected to enhance road safety and reduce the risk of accidents as vehicles are expected to use the information received to engage other on-board sensor and safety systems, like automatic emergency braking. Vehicles can also communicate while travelling in a convoy and help each other to overcome the limits of their own sensors and DSRC messages.
NHTSA is pushing this rule as it feels that automotive manufacturers are not giving V2V technology the attention it deserves and feels government action is needed to make them focus on V2V. NHTSA is also hoping that making V2V mandatory will encourage more widespread use of this potentially life-saving technology, as buyers might choose not to buy a vehicle with the technology if it is an optional feature.
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