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Saving Lives By Letting Cars Talk to Each Other

By The Conversation

September 19, 2016

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Wireless connectivity enabling communication between vehicles, the surrounding infrastructure, and others who share the road offers to improve safety as semi-autonomous and fully autonomous cars mature and proliferate, according to University of Michigan professor Huei Peng.

"Connectivity enables smart decisions by individual drivers, by self-driving vehicles, and at every level of automation in between," he says.

Peng says connected vehicles securely communicate to each other and the surrounding infrastructure via Dedicated Short Range Communications, exchanging data 10 times each second via messages that can be securely relayed at least 1,000 feet in any direction, and through inclement weather.

The U.S. federal government calculates vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity could prevent or mitigate the severity of approximately 80% of crashes that do not involve drug- or alcohol-impaired motorists.  

"Perhaps the greatest benefit of connectivity is that it can transform a group of independent vehicles sharing a road into a cohesive traffic system that can exchange critical information about road and traffic conditions in real time," Peng says.

He notes the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center seeks to advance connected/automated vehicle development.

Peng also cites the need "to more fully understand how to fuse information from connectivity and onboard sensors effectively."

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