Consumer Reports: Thinking Cars Could Eliminate 8 of 10 Wrecks

V2X has the potential to prevent a majority of collisions.

V2X has the potential to prevent a majority of collisions. (latimes.com)

Usually when the topic turns to “smart cars” the hoots come in from all directions about how small – and thus unsafe – they are. But we’re talking about a new type of “smart” car being proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), not BMW’s tiny Smart brand of automobiles.

The system has two parts. The first, called vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, has is a system that allows automobiles to communicate with each other. A separate portion allows cars to communicate with roadside infrastructure, such as traffic lights, and work and school zones. Taken together the technology is now referred to as V2X.

One such example: Let’s say you’re driving, and coming up on an intersection. You’ve got a green light, but because of road design, you cannot see a vehicle on a cross street that’s about to run a red light.

With no V2X, the typical result of such a scenario would be getting t-boned by the car running the red light, a collision type that often injurers or kills.

But with V2X, your car frantically flashes a red warning light on your dashboard, warning of your of the impending danger and giving you time to respond appropriately by hitting your brakes. Thus, minimizing or completely eliminating the crash from occurring.

Consumer Reports staffers have experienced V2X up close and personal. Overall, both came away impressed with the effectiveness and potential safety benefits of the systems.

It’ll be several years before this technology is ready for market, and we think it may be a bit of a pipe dream at getting the smart roadway into place, given that we can’t even manage to patch potholes as our automotive infrastructure crumbles around us.

“These systems are being aggressively developed because they could be the next big safety breakthrough,” said Rik Paul, automotive editor, Consumer Reports. “But adequate oversight of how the information is used is essential to ensure the privacy of drivers and to prevent abuse.”


About Cecil Helton

Cecil Helton Cecil Helton is a U.S.-based writer and editor with passions for cars, motorcycles, boats, technology and social media. Much of his professional life since 1996 has been web-centric, and he’s written and developed content on a variety of subjects. His work in the houseboat industry received wide acclaim, such as winning the 1999 Cisco Systems Growing with Technology award and being named one of five finalists in the manufacturing sector of the 2000 Computerworld-Smithsonian Awards. As an Air Force brat, he spent much of his childhood in a two-year cycle of moving to a new place, making new friends, establishing a life, and then moving again. Destinations included: Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, the Greek isle of Crete, California and Ohio. Today you’ll find Cecil coping with his 15 year old son’s decision to pursue a motorcycle license at the same time he gets his driver’s license, being active across the web on multiple social media sites, and of course, writing articles and creating content on automotive and car insurance related topics right here at CarInsurance.org.


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