At the Washington Auto Show, Ford previewed its plans for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology designed to improve efficiency, traffic, and safety by allowing vehicles to communicate with each other on the road. The concept involves the ability for vehicles equipped with V2V to relay messages wirelessly regarding traffic hazards, construction information, congestion, and other information that would help drivers on the road.
The vehicle-to-vehicle technology works via an independent short-range WiFi system broadcasted on a secure channel allocated by the FCC. Ford is confident that the technology works better than radar safety systems due to the fact that it allows a full 360-degree range around the vehicle, with or without a direct line of sight. This technology would be efficient and powerful in predicting oncoming collisions with unseen vehicles, sudden stops and any changes in traffic that may occur unexpectedly.
According to Ford, 81 percent of accidents in which alcohol isn't related are due to hazards that may be predicted and warned of through V2V technology. Ford's goal is to reduce and hopefully eliminate a large chunk of those 4.3 million accidents that occur each year. In addition to providing an extra level of safety for the drivers, V2V technology could also reduce gas wasted due to traffic delays. In 2009, the Texas Transportation Institute reported that 3.9 billion gallons of gas were wasted due to traffic issues. Ford hopes that its V2V technology will not only keep the drivers safe, but to reduce the hundreds of dollars that commuters waste due to traffic.
Ford's vice president of research and engineering, Paul Mascarenas stated, "The day is not far off when our vehicles will operate like mobile devices with four wheels, constantly exchanging information and communicating with our environment to do things like shorten commute times, improve fuel economy and generally help us more easily navigate life on the road."
Vehicle-to-vehicle equipped cars will be additionally researched and tested by the Department of Transportation as early as this summer. If all goes well, we should expect Ford's future models to include the technology as early as 2012 or 2013.