Federal Analysis Shows Public Warmth to Car-to-Car Technologies

In six federally hosted workshops on vehicle-to-vehicle communication technologies, a vast majority of participating motorists reported that they believed such tools would be useful in real-world driving and would have those devices in their own cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) hosted the “driver acceptance clinics” with 688 participants at locations across the U.S., testing motorists’ reactions to communication technology that “enables vehicles to ‘talk’ to one another with Wi-Fi-like technology.”

Features tested in the clinics included technology that warns drivers about approaching cars at an intersection, possible forward collisions, lane changes and moving into another driver’s blind spot.

“Connected vehicle technology offers tremendous promise—for improving safety, reducing traffic jams and increasing fuel efficiency,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement announcing results of the clinic.

More than 90 percent of participants said they thought some of the tested technologies could improve driving conditions on real roadways. Eighty-two percent of participants reported that they would like car-to-car safety features in their own vehicle.

“These technologies may prove to be the next game-changer as we look at the future of auto safety,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said.

The NHTSA’s views of the impact of safety technology on the auto insurance industry echoes a recent report from Celent predicting a scenario in which “loss-reduction technologies” like collision avoidance and telematics lead to falling claim volumes and fiercer competition between pricey and cheap car insurance companies alike that will all have to adjust to drastically falling insurance premiums.

Like the NHTSA, Celent researchers noted what they saw as the inevitable introduction of such technologies into the market. According to the report, “A Scenario: The End of Auto Insurance,” vehicle telematics technology that records driving data will be “mandated during the next five years.”

Federal officials will decide by 2013 whether to use the findings from the clinics in “possible future rulemakings” or continue other car-to-car research, according to the NHTSA. The clinics were the first phase of a Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program that launches a yearlong second phase this summer.

The program’s second phase will test about 3,000 vehicles equipped with crash-avoidance technology including “do not pass” alerts and signals warning drivers about cars ahead of them that have suddenly stopped.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article