New devices help cars avoid collisions

Technology is evolving, and it can save lives, believe it or not.

Technology in development could help people avoid car accidents by letting vehicles sense each other’s approach, triggering alarms in time to enable motorists to take evasive action. In one demonstration, as a car entered an intersection, the motorist was able to brake when the device activated a group of red lights embedded in the windshield and sounded an alert.

Essentially, the new technology allows vehicles to talk to each other and signal drivers to take preventative actions in a timely fashion to avoid colliding with other cars on the road. The federal government is planning to install the devices in almost 3,000 vehicles in their first major field test this summer, using motorists who came forward to volunteer.

The devices are referred to as vehicle-to-vehicle communication and the acronym V2V has been adopted to refer to it. More complex models of the system have also been developed which are able in some instances to step in when a motorist does not react quickly enough to avoid a collision, taking over control of other car by automatically activating the brakes.

The most common new technology, however, utilizes a wireless network, enabling the cars to send new data about their location, speed, and direction as often as every tenth of a second, and have those messages received by other cars with the same equipment on board located as far away as 1,000 feet. The computers allow warnings delivered by the computers to be examined and quickly decide whether it merits a warning to the driver. These warnings can then be delivered before the motorist could see the other vehicle with their naked eye.

The new systems could make a huge difference in car safety.

Source: Sun Times, “Cars avoid crashes by ‘communicating’ with each other,” Joan Lowy, June 10, 2012