United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it “the next great advance in saving lives.”
A driver moves along in traffic, the forward view blocked by a truck or a bend in the road. Suddenly, up ahead, someone slams on the brake. Tires screech.
There is little time to react.
Researchers here are working to add time to that equation. They envision a not-too-distant future in which vehicles are in constant, harmonious communication with one another and their surroundings, instantly warning drivers of unseen dangers.
When a motorist brakes quickly, a careless driver runs a red light or a truck bears down unseen in a passing lane, dashboards in nearby cars light up immediately with warnings — providing additional reaction time to avoid a pileup.
The Transportation Department announced this week a plan to require in coming years that the technology, so-called vehicle-to-vehicle communication, be installed in all cars and trucks in the United States. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx called it “the next great advance in saving lives.”
Google may already be experimenting with its own driverless cars, but the technology being tested in this university town by a group of academic, industry and government researchers could be retrofitted into ordinary cars.