Have you ever seen movies where all cars drive themselves? These futuristic cars all are automated so they can avoid each other, crashing, and causing traffic jams. That sounds pretty great to me. Well this future isn’t too far off apparently, as the Department of Transportation is proposing a plan that requires automakers to include technology which will allow cars to communicate with each other as a crash avoidance system. Research has shown that the inclusion of this technology has the potential to decrease accidents by 70%-80% for sober drivers. While this isn’t completely automated driving, it is a major first step towards that future. The technology also can be developed to include control of steering and break functions, meaning that automated driving is a potential future possibility.

Some of the issues that have arisen with this plan are privacy issues, as well as legal ramifications. Privacy, an issue that is at the forefront of technology, is an expected hurdle for automakers and regulators to overcome. As the cars will need to relay location and speed information, drivers are worried of this information being used against them. However, the claim is the information will not be identified with the driver. More importantly is the legal ramifications, which involves automakers attempting to protect their company from being sued if passengers are physically damaged in a crash that has the vehicle to vehicle crash avoidance technology.

These issues are all important to consider, but with a potential side effect of the implementation of this technology being reduced traffic congestion, I think that is an evil that may be worth the risk.

Do you think this technology will effectively reduce crashes? Would you be willing to drive in a car with vehicle-to-vehicle crash avoidance technology? What do you think this will mean for the future of the auto industry?