Credit: Department of Transportation
While the vehicle network technology is being developed specifically for safety, there are a plethora of other use cases. “Most folks in the automotive space see V2V as opening up a toolbox for autonomous vehicles,” says Bayless, with ITS. Software could be developed that would allow cars to share their routes and organize in the most efficient way while communicating with V2V. Trucks equipped with this technology could platoon together with a lead vehicle guiding the way for a handful of trucks behind it; each following vehicle would benefit from drafting and reduce their fuel consumption.
Self-driving cars could benefit from V2V too. In February 2016 a Lexus operated by Google’s autonomous driving software merged into a lane to avoid sandbags covering a storm drain and side swiped a bus that was approaching from behind. The vehicle’s driving system detected the bus but wrongly assumed the transit vehicle would slow down and let the car into the lane. V2V communication would have informed the autonomous vehicle that the bus’s brakes were not engaged and that it was not slowing down, and therefore it was unsafe to merge into the lane. The mishap was one of the first widely publicized self-driving car accidents; and V2V technology could have prevented it.
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