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"Talking" Cars May Prevent Auto Accidents

You may think that cars only talk to each other in the movies, but soon cars may talk, or at least communicate, with one another to prevent accidents. Last week, the largest study of connected car technologies began as almost 3,000 motorists had their vehicles equipped with the devices. The hope is that such devices will eventually prevent large numbers of motor vehicle accidents.

These transmitters send out information about a vehicle’s speed, direction and location 10 times every second. One type of accident that the technology may prevent is multi-car pileups. For example, if the initial vehicle that stopped is equipped with a wireless transmitter, that transmitter would warn approaching cars that a vehicle ahead of them is stalled. The wireless transmitters in those cars receiving the information would then alert their drivers of the potential danger, and hopefully a large pileup would be avoided.

Smart car technology may also notify drivers of vehicles in their blind spots or if vehicles are obstructing a turn. Although some object to the technology as being intrusive and too “Big Brother,” most people welcome further motor vehicle safety advancements.

Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for those 35 and under, and human error is responsible for a majority of these accidents. Therefore, any technology that helps to minimize human error while driving has the potential to save thousands of lives.

Connected car technology is still in the early stages of development and testing. It may be decades before such devices are commonplace on a majority of vehicles on the road.

Source: NPR, “Study to Test ‘Talking’ Cars That Would Warn Drivers Of Unseen Dangers,” Tracy Samilton, August 21, 2012