What is connected vehicle technology?

Connected vehicles enable safe, interoperable networked wireless communications among vehicles, the infrastructure, and passengers’ personal communications devices.

How long will it take before I see these cars in my dealership?

In 2016 NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology for new light vehicles. More than 400 comments were received by the public and they are being reviewed by USDOT. Equipment suppliers have indicated that they could have an adequate supply of readily available, mass-produced, internal components for a V2V device approximately 2.5 to 3 years after NHTSA moves forward with some type of regulatory action. In the meantime, General Motors has installed connected vehicle technology in select 2017 Cadillac models.

How much will this technology increase the cost of a new car?

Based on preliminary information, NHTSA currently estimates that the V2V equipment and supporting communications functions (including a security management system) would cost approximately $341 to $350 per vehicle in 2020. These costs would also include an additional $9 to $18 per year in fuel costs due to added vehicle weight from the V2V system.

What are the safety benefits of connected vehicles?

NHTSA preliminary estimates of safety benefits show that two safety applications—Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA)—could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives saved per year. Put another way, V2V technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes that would otherwise occur by providing advance warning. LTA warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, and IMA warns them if it is not safe to enter an intersection due to a high probability of colliding with one or more vehicles. Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.

How do connected vehicles relate to automated vehicles?

The full benefits of vehicle automation can be achieved only through connectivity. By integrating connected with automated vehicles, we can improve the safety of our roads, expand our transportation capabilities, and greatly extend mobility options to everyone—from the disabled, the elderly, to the inexperienced teenage driver.

The ITS JPO is already moving forward with research that advances the concept of connected vehicles to automated vehicles. The technology we are developing today will help automated vehicles by being aware of the vehicles and infrastructure around them that cannot be addressed by current sensor technology.

Even though the private sector is moving quickly in this space, the USDOT will play a significant role in the deployment of automated vehicles. We will not only facilitate the development and deployment but also work to ensure that automation enhances safety, mobility, and sustainability. We will work closely with the industry partners to identify the benefit opportunities. Apart from technology related issues, we have other major issues such as cyber security, testing, and certification on this road to full automation

Can the technology help me in bad weather?

Bad weather conditions, such as snowstorms, heavy rain, and fog, can have a severe impact on our nation’s roads. Thus, the USDOT is trying to better understand weather’s impacts to develop and promote effective tools and strategies to mitigate them. The USDOT is also trying to determine how adverse weather may affect sensors and other hardware in relation to connected and fully autonomous vehicles. The following connected vehicle road weather applications could help reduce the impact of adverse weather on the safety and efficiency of our roads:

  • Pikalert® Vehicle Data Translator (VDT): A sophisticated model that collects road and atmospheric conditions data from connected vehicles and other traditional weather information sources to infer pavement surface conditions as well as atmospheric conditions. This information is used to generate hazardous conditions alerts and the VDT transmits them to other portions of the road weather management network.
  • Motorist Advisories and Warnings (MAW): An application that will use road-weather data from connected vehicles and VDT outputs to provide information to travelers on deteriorating road and weather conditions on specific roadway segments.
  • Enhanced Maintenance Decision Support System (E-MDSS): An application that will acquire road-weather data from connected vehicles and ancillary sources of weather information to forecast atmospheric and pavement conditions and to recommend pavement treatment plans to snow plow operators and drivers of maintenance vehicles.
  • Weather Responsive Traffic Management (WRTM): Applications and strategies that will use connected vehicle data, road weather data, communications systems, and other traffic and weather data to enhance the operation of traffic control systems including variable speed limits, traffic signals and ramp meters during severe weather events

Will connected vehicles help me to avoid traffic and get me where I need to be on time?

Although safety is the USDOT’s top priority, connected vehicles also promise to provide benefits in improved mobility and efficiency of our nation’s transportation system. Some of the applications in development that will help to improve congestion and travel time include:

  • Dynamic Speed Harmonization (SPD-HARM): An application that aims to recommend target speeds in response to congestion, incidents, and road conditions to maximize throughput and reduce crashes
  • Queue Warning (Q-WARN): An application that aims to provide drivers timely warnings of existing and impending queues
  • Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC): An application that aims to dynamically adjust and coordinate cruise control speeds among platooning vehicles to improve traffic flow stability and increase throughput.

How is my privacy protected?

V2V technologies do not pose a significant threat to privacy and have been designed to help protect against vehicle tracking by the government or others:

  • The system will not collect or store any data on individuals or individual vehicles, nor will it enable the government to do so.
  • There is no data in the safety messages exchanged by vehicles or collected by the V2V security system that could be used by law enforcement or private entities to personally identify a speeding or erratic driver.
  • The system—operated by private entities—will not permit tracking through space or time of vehicles linked to specific owners or drivers or persons.
  • Third parties attempting to use the system to track a vehicle would find it extremely difficult to do so, particularly in light of far simpler and cheaper means available for that purpose.
  • The system will not collect financial information, personal communications, or other information linked to individuals. It will enroll V2V enabled vehicles automatically, without collecting any information identifying specific vehicles or owners.
  • The system will not provide a “pipe” into the vehicle for extracting data. The system will enable NHTSA and motor vehicle manufacturers to find lots or production runs of potentially defective V2V equipment without use of VIN numbers or other information that could identify specific drivers or vehicles.