Wednesday, November 18, 2015

US Department of Transport Explain Cars and Trucks Talking to Each Other

New Technology is Not the Stuff of Science Fiction
Shipping News Feature
US – For those of you who imagined that ‘connected vehicles’, i.e. cars or trucks which ‘talk’ to one another, were the stuff of Ray Bradbury novels, think again. The US Department of Transport no less is taking the matter extremely seriously and has launched a website dedicated to informing people about the technology which predicts the rapid adoption of short wave communications to make drivers aware of dangerous situations before they would normally see or hear them, cars ahead swerving to avoid debris in the road for example, or a vehicle running a red light at a crossroads. Over two years ago we reported the progress Ford for example are making in this field.

The DoT is not alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also looking closely at the situation and again presents a significant web presence. It cannot be long of course before this type of technology is coupled with the convoy concept Volvo trucks have been working on, whilst in the EU similar projects are under way.

Although many people fear the advance of such systems, wanting to maintain full control in human hands, the NHTSA for example are taking a more pragmatic, statistical view. We live in an age when planes are often principally flown, and landed, by computer simply because it is safer. Leading airplane makers have stated they could produce craft which actually needed no human pilot need be involved at any stage of the flight, not something however which would prove acceptable to most passengers one imagines.

In the case of this new automotive technology one can actually see the equipment being introduced one stage at a time. When one considers the basic equipment of most cars and trucks for example just 20 years ago the majority seem underwhelming in terms of what the driver was offered. The linking of a new communications warning system will probably be added with hardly a comment these days. Taking the hands off the wheel and letting the first driver in a convoy take control of a queue of trailing vehicles might, however, require a little more faith.