Automakers Experiment With Car-to-Car Communication; "Maximum Overdrive" to Ensue?

By Jacob Brown | January 24, 2012
Remember the movie Maximum Overdrive, the last movie anyone can link Emilio Estevez to before he coached the Mighty Ducks in the 1990s? If you don’t, here’s a recap: Cars communicate with one another to rampage against mankind. All of it is set to the soothing sounds of AC/DC. Automakers are now experimenting with technology in cars to make them communicate with one another, albeit they’re hoping for less violence and less AC/DC than what Stephen King’s screenplay brought. MIT’s Technology Review magazine describes the process of car-to-car communication as a safety feature, in fact, bent on making cars talk to one another before an impending collision. Using Wi-Fi signals, the cars are able to provide alarms, visual warnings, and even vibrate a driver’s seat to warn him or her in the case of another car suddenly braking, another vehicle in the driver’s blindspot, or any number of variables that could occur while driving. Cars are able to communicate with one another 10 times every second, relaying information through 11 data sensors and GPS sensors to convey information like acceleration, braking, steering wheel angle, and speed.
Currently, eight automakers in the U.S. are collaborating to experiment with the technology with 120 volunteers at a clip driving the cars in various regions. They’re working to standardize the radio and sensor technology to make cars communicate with one another. Later, automakers will be putting 3000 vehicle-to-vehicle compatible cars, trucks, and buses on the road in Ann Arbor, Mich. to learn how they work in the real world. Automakers and the U.S. Department of Transportation hope to learn the viability of the technology, as the DOT will be deciding within the year whether or not it is planning to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle communication by 2013 for a 2018 rollout across the industry. Let’s just hope no one ever hacks the cars to conspire against humanity. Source: MIT Technology Review