Toyota has plans to start selling U.S. vehicles that can talk to each other using short-range wireless technology. This technological and unprecedented enhancement is to be released in 2021. The feature is said to be more for safety than anything else since cars that could communicate in real-time would know to not move any closer in fear of a crash.
Because of this announcement, the U.S. Transportation Department is now deciding whether or not this should become a mandatory feature for all smart cars in the future.The Obama administration actually proposed requiring this type of technology back in 2016 while and automakers at least four years to comply. The proposal requires automakers to ensure all vehicles “speak the same language through a standard technology.”
Before we proceed, though, let’s be clear on something that is sure to convince you that we aren’t writing an Onion article here. To clear up any confusion, the word “talk” here means to communicate wirelessly. I know, I know. I got excited too about the notion of a new type of conversation taking place at red lights around the globe. Insert a favorite type of music / heavy metal joke here.
With vehicle designs like this, cars should be able to do more than talk to each other.
Automakers were granted a block of spectrum in 1999 in the 5.9 GHz band for “vehicle-to-vehicle” and “vehicle to infrastructure” communications and have studied the technology for more than a decade. However, the technology has gone widely overlooked and underutilized.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said last year the regulation could eventually cost between $135 and $300 per new vehicle, or up to $5 billion annually but could prevent up to 600,000 crashes and reduce costs by $71 billion annually when fully deployed.
Less accidents sounds like a no-brainer to me. But we’ll just have to wait to see how this shakes out in the next few years.