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Transportation Technology

Six Cities Named For Vehicle2Vehicle Communications Trial 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the skynet-taxi-service dept.
thecarchik writes "We all know about the growing popularity of collision avoidance systems. As recently as this week, we've even heard about developments on the autonomous car front. Problem is, most of those systems depend on vehicles going it alone, using radar and other technology to avoid hazards in their way. But what if cars could talk to one another and the surrounding infrastructure? Wouldn't that be even better — and safer? The US Department of Transportation thinks so, and it's hoping to prove it in a new series of 'talking car' experiments taking place in six locales across the US. These technologies may potentially address up to 82 percent of crash scenarios with unimpaired drivers, preventing tens of thousands of vehicle crashes every year (further research [PDF] will incorporate heavy vehicle crashes including buses, motor carriers, and rail)."
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Six Cities Named For Vehicle2Vehicle Communications Trial

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  • by YuppieScum (1096) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @04:36PM (#36170614) Journal

    ... because no-one will *ever* try and spoof the data streams just to watch other people's cars take unrequired avoiding action at 60mph...

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Actually,some aircraft have systems that communicate to each other and share info, and they work really well.
      Granted, there best feature is near instant triangulation on ground missile launch.

      You can prevent spoofing.

      I can build a device that jams modern cars system and bring the to a halt, but you don't see people out there doing it.
      But, yea lets embrace the fear.

    • by Noughmad (1044096)

      That shouldn't be a problem, just make sure you don't cross the data streams.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

      You can also throw cinder blocks off overpasses. Ban cinderblocks! And overpasses!

      Actually, lets just ban cars and roll around in giant plastic bubbles.

      Safe now....so...safe...

    • I assume they will include an override (at least for the trials) that cuts the automated systems out of the loop (returning full control to the drivers) in case the automation fails or someone starts interfering with it. I would be surprised if their lawyers didn't insist upon it.

      • by drcheap (1897540)

        I assume they will include an override (at least for the trials) that cuts the automated systems out of the loop (returning full control to the drivers) in case the automation fails or someone starts interfering with it. I would be surprised if their lawyers didn't insist upon it.

        I sure wouldn't buy a car that didn't allow it to be disabled temporarily. Some times the systems are "too smart for their own good" ... even simpler such things already in mass deployment like traction control demonstrate that.

      • by Dr Max (1696200)
        I wouldn't be surprised if the government insisted on not allowing humans override it, I believe this system is just a way to warn you about possible future collisions. Which i don't see a point wasting my money on cause i would still need to drive everywhere (bring on the computer chauffeur the advantages are endless).
    • by h00manist (800926)

      I think the solution is old and its something called PRT, for Personal Rapid Transit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_rapid_transit [wikipedia.org] -- either way, it seems that's what they will eventually develop.

  • Will this system work if less than 100% of the cars are equipped to communicate?

    • If used in conjunction with radar and other similar collision avoidance technologies, yes.
    • If none of the cars around you communicate, then it's exactly the same as not having the system. So nothing is lost.

      If some or all the cars around you communicate then you get some extra safety.

      It's a win/win situation.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @04:42PM (#36170694)

    There have been reports of anti-lock brake systems failing when near powerful transmitters, sensor malfunctions leading to brakes seizing or the engine cutting out (leading to a loss of power steering), acceleration controls becoming locked, etc.

    Guys, if the modern car can't even talk to itself without going beserk, why are we considering networking them? Worse, what's going to happen when somebody figures out how to make your car think you're about to hit something, and it slams on the brakes to avoid hitting the imaginary object, only to have you rear-ended by the very real object behind you? Or, raising privacy concerns... how about law enforcement (read: anyone with the right equipment) can remote kill or stop your vehicle?

    Frankly, the engineering just isn't there yet.

    • There have been reports of anti-lock brake systems failing when near powerful transmitters, sensor malfunctions leading to brakes seizing or the engine cutting out (leading to a loss of power steering), acceleration controls becoming locked, etc.

      Guys, if the modern car can't even talk to itself without going beserk, why are we considering networking them?

      The goal isn't 100% accuracy; the goal is better-than-human accuracy. Personally, I've never heard of these sensor malfunctions to which you're referring. Still, even conceding that it's happened here and there, I can guaran-damn-tee you that the benefits of anti-lock brake systems have far outweighed any such problems, saving dozens of thousands of lives. I've been in a crash because I didn't have ABS, and I've avoided one or two since specifically because I did have ABS. I'll more than willingly take

      • by mini me (132455)

        I have experienced ABS activation on completely dry pavement on a nice, warm, sunny day. While it was no threat in my situation, it does change the stopping dynamics enough that it could lead to an accident in certain cases. I do agree the benefits outweigh the risks, though.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Citation needed.

      And it had better be good one, because I know these systems and I will call you to task on it.

    • ...how about law enforcement (read: anyone with the right equipment) can remote kill or stop your vehicle?

      Frankly, the engineering just isn't there yet.

      By the way, this technology not only exists, but it is being advertised and sold as a feature [youtube.com].

    • by rrossman2 (844318) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @05:00PM (#36170940)

      "sensor malfunctions leading to brakes seizing"

      Did a search, found nothing at all that mentions that (and if an ABS sensor malfunctions, the ABS system shuts down, but you still have your normal breaking system like on any car without ABS

      "or the engine cutting out (leading to a loss of power steering)"

      Big deal. It's not hard to steer a car without power steering. In fact, the faster you're moving the easier. Power steering really only helps when you're not moving or moving very slowly.

      "anti-lock brake systems failing when near powerful transmitters"

      The only thing I could really find was from Clemson University:

      "Early ABS systems on both aircraft and automobiles were susceptible to EMI. Accidents occurred when brakes functioned improperly because EMI disrupted the ABS control system" ... "For automobile systems, the solution was to ensure, if EMI occurred, that the ABS system degrade gracefully to normal braking -- essentially an automatic version of the aircraft manual switch. Eventually, automobile ABS was qualified by EMI testing prior to procurement."
      http://www.cvel.clemson.edu/pdf/nasa-rp1374.pdf [clemson.edu] , NASA Reference Publication 1374

      I think more of what you said is hysteria, or you've never had a motor die for whatever reason while you're driving (which I have)

      • by hedwards (940851)

        It's always something to be concerned with, but one also must be aware of the benefits as well. ABS is one of the most significant advances since the seat belt. ESC offers similar promise in reducing rollover crashes.

        But, ultimately, if they can get a system like this to work it would be a huge win.

        Now, if only they can ban those annoying red lights that some cars have when they're driving, you know the ones that make it hard to tell if the driver has applied the brakes.

        • by adolf (21054)

          Now, if only they can ban those annoying red lights that some cars have when they're driving, you know the ones that make it hard to tell if the driver has applied the brakes.

          What -- you mean, rear fog lights? Some countries require cars to have them, and some imports (mostly of European origin) retain the function. The brake lights are separate.

          And in times where they're intended to be used (heavy fog, rain, snow, or other times when visibility is limited), they work fine: They help show the driver behi

        • by cynyr (703126)

          How about instead of ESC we just make small, low CG, stable cars with functioning suspensions? ohh right then the cadilac extrastupid wouldn't be able to be sold.

    • by Arterion (941661)

      Interesting concept, about jamming the technology.

      Of course, it would be much easier to kill someone with a handgun, or damage their property with a sledgehammer. Or just run you over themselves.

      That said, there are a lot of systems that you can interfere with, and in each case it's very illegal. Tampering with railroad tracks seems like a pretty good low tech example. I'm not naysaying security concerns, but they should be kept in context. I think we are all now used to assuming ultra-high hack-proof secur

    • All we have to do is create a car that does a better job than the average idiot behind the wheel. The bar is not that high.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @04:48PM (#36170760)

    There are only 6 cities, would it have been so hard to include them in the summary?

    The V2V tests will begin in six U.S. locales: Blacksburg, VA; Brooklyn, MI; Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Orlando, FL; and San Francisco, CA. Testing will continue through 2012, and the DOT hopes to make a full report -- with recommendations -- to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013.

  • by Tolkien (664315)
    Hey you.Yes, you. I'm talking to you, blue Mazda. The road continues ahead smoothly for the next 2 kilometers. The sharp turn you see in 200 meters doesn't exist. Ignore it.
    • by zelbinion (442226)

      Why run the cars off the road?
      I'd rather have a system that tells the other cars they are about to be rammed from behind and causes them to move over.
      OUT OF MY WAY.

      OOO! ...and something that prevents people from jumping the gun when they should be yielding right of way. No one seems to understand the rules at 4-way stops anymore.

      Go in the order you arrived
      Yield to the person on your right in the case of a tie. (At least in the U.S.)
      Take turns.
      SIMPLE!

      Nope -- too many mouth breathers can't figure that out.

      • by cynyr (703126)

        but if the guy across from you is going and you are both going straight you may move out of turn. Ideally you get as many cars though per "round" as possible.

    • by pmontra (738736)
      200 meters or 200 yards? That's going to be another source of imperial-to-metric misunderstandings. Not that we're landing a spacecraft under the surface of Mars [wikipedia.org] this time, but think about that poor Mazda and that poor Ford talking, not understanding each other and the unsuspecting people on board ;-)
      • Why would an orbiter be UNDER the surface of Mars...?
        • by pmontra (738736)
          A little misunderstanding between two teams of people, one thinking in metric and the other one thinking in imperial units. The details are in the wikipedia link in my original post.
          • They didn't land it under the surface, it simply came to close to the surface where the atmosphere caused it to burn up. It was estimated to be at 57Km ABOVE the surface. Cool article though!
  • Mischievous hackers are going to have a field day with this one. They will really be able to crash the devices. Popup on the console... "Please accept this paypal transaction to avoid going off the cliff in front of you."
    • You can crash cars on the highway today with a well-aimed laser pointer or a few bricks, if that rocks your boat.

      • by blincoln (592401)

        "You can crash cars on the highway today with a well-aimed laser pointer or a few bricks, if that rocks your boat."

        Laser pointers and bricks are easy to follow back to their point of origin, because someone has to be actively using them. It's a lot harder for regular people to figure out where a radio transmission is coming from, and it's a lot easier to set up a time-delayed, battery-powered radio transmitter that will interfere with a system like this than the laser or brick equivalent.

  • And I am also sure that the US Government wont eventually try to get other things added to this package, like the ability to track you or for the police to be able to stop your car by remote. /end S/
    I'm wondering how many people our wonderful Government has right now thinking of ways to use this to violate our rights? I would say at least 60.

  • A great way to address most crash scenarios is to pull your head out of your ass as a driver. Are we so lazy that we cannot accept doing chores as adults? God forbid we spend any amount of time not being entertained.
    • Pulling your head out of your ass does not help much when others around you still drive with their heads in their asses. Even one guy doing so can cause a crash that several well-behaved drivers are dragged into.

  • In this scheme, known as a âoeswoop-and-squat,â one or more drivers in âoeswoopâ cars force an unsuspecting driver into position behind a âoesquatâ car. This squat car, which is usually filled with several passengers, then slows abruptly, forcing the driver of the chosen car to collide with the squat car. he passengers in the squat car then file a claim with the other driverâ(TM)s insurance company. This claim often includes bills for medical treatments that were not necessary or not received

    The squatter could program their car to transmit a "all safe" message to other cars thereby fooling them into causing the crash... The car that crashed (the victim) could them claim their system was malfunctioning thereby suing more people...

    • by Zerth (26112)

      And that's why the car will use radar/optical sensors to detect the car and brake anyway, because when a dishwasher falls off a badly loaded truck, it doesn't transmit a "oh shit, I'm in the way" signal.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      I think it's likely the computers could provide evidence of a swoop-and-squat, more than cause them. Where presently it's almost always assumed that the following car didn't maintain an appropriate following distance, now the car computers could, in theory, provide evidence that someone was the victim of this scam. Now the perpetrators go to jail for fraud and reckless endangerment, the insurance company doesn't have to pay out and you don't get the same rate bump you would have. That's a big potential
      • "Where presently it's almost always assumed that the following car didn't maintain an appropriate following distance"

        If you rear-end another car, then you either didn't maintain enough distance or you weren't paying attention.

        • by SomePgmr (2021234)
          Usually I agree, and so do police and insurance companies. That's why the scam supposedly works. In this case, other cars box you in while someone cuts right in front of you and slams on the brakes with a car full of people. Then they bilk the system for every dollar they can get.

          Apparently this actually happens, though I'd never heard of it before today. Assuming it's a real problem, an in-car computer with an array of sensors and such could log proximity and behavior of surrounding vehicles, illust
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will point out that as a driving system, humans are already pretty terrible. We have distractions, both external and self-inflicted, limited field of view, slow reaction time, short attention span, and a variety of possible impairments. If these parameters were averaged and a machine created that mimicked those error rates, no sane human would climb into a car driven by that machine. However, we accept the significant accident rate because of two prevailing and fallacious lines of thought: "It's okay beca

  • by DaFallus (805248) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @05:26PM (#36171250)
    One of the benefits of testing in Dallas is that is already a common occurrence to be cut off by someone driving 100 mph on a wet road while flailing wildly and screaming obscenities out the window.
    • One of the benefits of testing in Dallas is that is already a common occurrence to be cut off by someone driving 100 mph on a wet road while flailing wildly and screaming obscenities out the window.

      ... while cutting across three lanes of traffic to get to an exit ramp 1/4 mile ahead.

      Massachusetts says hi :)

    • Well my fellow Houstonian, I've wondered why our city wasn't on the list. Then I realized how everyone drives on 290 and 610 up to 80Mph while drafting other drivers. People talk of NASCAR, but sure as hell, we live it every freaking day!

  • Why not implement some of these systems in a non-automated fashion first? I can't tell you how many times I've tried to find some sort of inexpensive RADAR for my car.
  • Yeah, I've already got all the V2V communications I need packed into my middle finger.

    See figure one.

  • Interesting, but ultimately pointless until we have cars that can talk to soccer balls. You know . . . like when your human eyes/mind sees a soccer ball roll into the street, and you knows to slow down because, seeing the ball, you know a child might just come running along behind it . . . Seriously, its good work that needs to be done, but unless we're going to drive cars in isolated pathways, there are just too many non-automotive things that can spring out from the road side to make this alone the wond
  • If autonomous systems become the norm, old cars without the functionality will not be allowed on the major roads, directly impacting the working poor, already on the margins of oblivion.

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.

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