Automakers and suppliers believe vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems someday will radically reduce the frequency of accidents.
But if it takes as much as a decade or so to equip enough vehicles to make a dent in the accident rate, how do you convince car buyers that such a system is worth the cost?
Vehicle-to-vehicle systems transmit their speed and location to other vehicles with transmitters and receivers that operate much like wi-fi.
Cars and trucks would "talk" to other vehicles a couple of hundred yards away, alerting each other as they approach an intersection.
This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a large-scale test of 3,000 vehicles equipped with communications systems in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Denso International America Inc. has developed some of the transmitting devices to be used in those vehicles. And Roger Berg, Denso’s vice president of wireless technologies, is helping to develop a business case.
Aftermarket devices “are the key” to the rapid deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, Berg said. A good aftermarket product might offer a variety of Day One benefits:
- Road conditions could be transmitted to the motorist by sensors positioned near curves, bridges and intersections. If a bridge is icy, for example, the motorist would be warned.
- The motorist would know in advance how long a stoplight up ahead would remain green, so he wouldn’t have to rush to make it through the intersection.
- Ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles could broadcast their location to "civilian" vehicles.
- "Intelligent" road signs could transmit speed limits and other information to the motorist.