People suck at driving; it’s a scientific fact. They can’t drive at a constant speed, don’t pay attention, and are too emotional. This is where Vehicle to Vehicle, also known as V2V, technology can change your morning commute.

Car Communication

If you think about it, cars are essentially 4,000 lb. death machines that propel us at unnatural speeds. I have yet to meet a human being that can run 0-60 in 5 seconds.

That being said, they are our most widespread and readily available form of transportation. And while technology has made the car safer, driving itself is still a dangerous undertaking.

In the United States alone, there are over 35,000 fatalities and more than 2.5 million injuries associated with car accidents per year. And it’s not as if the government hasn’t noticed.

The United States Department of Transportation has issued a new rule saying that all new cars must be equipped with V2V systems.

But don’t we already have those? I mean, Tesla already has a self driving car.

Technically, no. What the government is proposing is to integrate dedicated, short range radios that will relay critical information–like speed, braking, location, and direction–between cars.

Tesla’s self driving system uses a combination of cameras, radar, and other sensors to collect data and then navigate the roads; they don’t talk to other Teslas, let alone other cars.

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Legislation

Why is there so much chatter about something that seems so…technologically ancient. I mean, we’ve been using radios to send information for years.

Secretary Anthony Foxx states that:

“This long promised V2V rule is the next step in that overall progression. Once deployed, V2V will provide 360-degree situational awareness on the road and it will help us to enhance vehicle safety.”

The ruling also requires that all vehicle manufacturers have a “standard mode of communication.”

What that entails will have to be much more explicit; while the exact wording has yet to be released, automakers are already wondering what this would entail.

Big Brother?

As is often the case with information sharing technology, where is the line on privacy? What information is being sent?

While all of the basic movement information about your car is being sent, what about your personal information? Will the government and car manufacturers now know what your favorite radio station is? What about the temperature you like to keep your car at?

Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to be heading in that direction.

But the official Department of Transportation website regarding V2V doesn’t say anything about information encryption.

What if, hypothetically, a person with malicious intent was transmitting false data? It could really cause widespread traffic problems.

Not only that, there is no word on if the data will even be anonymous.

What’s the big deal though, right?

Maybe one day, you were late for work so you go a little bit faster than the speed limit. A week later, a ticket comes in the mail.

You were never pulled over, and in your head, you haven’t done anything wrong. But the police and other law enforcement agencies may be able to use this data to retroactively ticket minor traffic offenses.

In a more sinister plot twist, law enforcement may be able to track your location without your knowledge.

While most people are law abiding citizens, privacy is important, especially in the information age. While most people have nothing to hide, it’s important to remind ourselves that we, as citizens, are protected under the Bill of Rights.

But I digress; this is technology that has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. So suck up that creepy speeding ticket from Big Brother, and reflect on all the lives V2V technology is saving.

The V2V Cloud

How is all this data going to be stored? But more importantly, how is all this information going to be distributed from vehicle to vehicle?

V2V is worthless if you can’t communicate.

If only there were some overarching, highly flexible internet based storage system. Luckily for us, there is.

The cloud is going to revolutionize the way we use and access data; why can’t it do the same with cars?

And with our society becoming more and more integrated every day, this is just the beginning of a “smart society,” where all of our devices communicate with each other to make our lives easier.

If your car connects to your phone, you can and will be able to program your preferences, ultimately meaning that your driving experience is going to be even more your own.

Everything will be tailored to your own personal preferences.

Your car will be able to pull up in front of your house as you walk out your front door; it’ll be able to anticipate your needs.

Not only that, V2V communication makes the possibility of self-driving cars a reality. Instead of purely relying on sensors to check your immediate surroundings, your car will be able to see your entire route before you even get inside.

Not only that, with cars driving themselves, traffic should become a thing of the past. (We hope!)

Overall, this is an exciting time. With the potential to save lives, V2V is a great step toward making the world a better place.

Not only that, a (potentially) unanticipated consequence is that we’re taking a step towards a smarter, more convenient future. All we have to do now is wait and see what direction car manufacturers and the government take with this.

Thanks for Reading!

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