Federal safety agency to test effectiveness of talking cars

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Beginning in August of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will conduct a yearlong experiment to determine whether cars that communicate with one another on the road are the key to a safer future for motorists. The experiment, taking place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will test the road behavior of an estimated 2,800 vehicles, including passenger cars, buses, and trucks equipped with high tech communication devices designed to provide early warnings for imminent obstacles on the road such as sudden stops or vehicles present in a driver’s blind spot. A cooperative effort with the University of Michigan, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s experiment involves the installation of electronic equipment in the cars of volunteers as well as public transportation vehicles such as buses. Special demonstrations of the equipment administered by Department of Transportation employees were met with excitement by members of the general public according to a statement issued by the administration. According to Department of Transportation statistics, these inter-vehicle communication devices could effectively prevent accidents in approximately 8 out of 10 scenarios leading to a traffic collision, in cases where the driver’s ability is not hindered by drugs or alcohol. The advanced technological safety features being tested in this experiment combine data retrieved from global positioning satellites with a Wi-Fi like wireless communication system that allows nearby cars to communicate information pertaining to upcoming road hazards.