DETROIT--Federal safety officials plan a real-world test next year of vehicles that can talk to each other and warn drivers of impending collisions.
As many as 3,000 autos will be equipped with the technology in Ann Arbor, Mich. The test will help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decide whether to mandate wireless communication in cars to avoid accidents. The decision for light vehicles is planned in 2013.
In the meantime, NHTSA, automakers and various suppliers are refining and testing the technology. Vehicles are equipped with GPS and wireless communication, which lets vehicles know their locations and share that information with other vehicles. Onboard computers read the signals and send warnings to drivers.
"The technology is here today, and it works," said Roger Berg, vice president of wireless technology at Denso International America, Inc. Last week in suburban Detroit, he demonstrated the technology to journalists.
Denso hopes to supply the technology to automakers.
In one demo, a test car approached a crossroads. As a second car zipped across the intersection, a screen on the first car flashed a warning to brake.
If NHTSA decides in 2013 to mandate the technology on all new light vehicles, that would start the government's process for rule-making and public comment. So it would be years after that before automakers would have to install the technology.
(Source: Automotive News)