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Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication 390

Posted by timothy
from the bumper-sticker-transponder dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For decades, the focus of auto safety has primarily been on surviving the traumatic impact of crashes through features like air bags and seat belts. But now the focus has shifted to avoiding crashes by developing technology to make future vehicles 'smart' enough to detect and respond to threats, such as an oncoming vehicle. The technology, known as 'vehicle-to-vehicle,' or "V2V," lets cars 'talk' to each other and exchange safety data, such as speed and position. If a nearby car abruptly changes lanes and moves into another car's blind spot, the car would be alerted. Federal transportation officials did not announce when the new regulations would go into effect but said they hope to propose the new V2V rules before President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017." Combine this with remote kill-switches or pulse guns, Amber-alert scrolling signs, proliferating cameras, automatic plate recognition and unstoppable text messages from on high for some not-so-distant driving dystopia.
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Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication

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  • To require? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigfinger76 (2923613) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:26PM (#46151215)
    "To require" and "to propose" are two different things.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      "To require" and "to propose" are two different things.

      And to get passed is yet a third.

      Then to not have struck down by the Supreme Court is still a forth.

      • you aren't required to use a vehicle to move around the country, therefore we can require whatever tracking system we want to be in every car.

    • by bigpat (158134)

      It isn't even clear this will be at all useful for autonomous navigation or crash avoidance. Any crash avoidance and autonomous navigation system is going to have to deal with cars that aren't transmitting this type of data for at least a decade while cars were in transition and then even after that cars would have to deal with neighboring cars generating bad data, or if it relies on GPS for position then it is going to be completely useless for crash avoidance and even fine grained navigation... not to

      • by vtcodger (957785)

        Of course it'll help sometimes. "Restricted Visibility" isn't just for people. It'll surely apply to vehicle on-board sensors also. The ability to "see" potential hazards obscured by terrain, vegetation, traffic, looking directly into the rising or setting sun, etc isn't going to solve all or even most problems. But it'll help.

        And frankly, self driving cars are going to need all the help they can get -- especially once one gets down off the freeways onto roads shared with pedestrians, bicycles, skateboa

      • How is it a bad thing to receive information that "could" be true? You shouldn't trust the information is true, of course, but you could take a conservative course of action that will protect you in the event the information is either true or false. For cars, if the information is of a hazard ahead, a prudent action is almost always to reduce speed, for example, even if it turns out there is no hazard.
      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Any crash avoidance and autonomous navigation system is going to have to deal with cars that aren't transmitting this type of data for at least a decade while cars were in transition and then even after that cars would have to deal with neighboring cars generating bad data, or if it relies on GPS for position then it is going to be completely useless for crash avoidance and even fine grained navigation...

        The perfect is the enemy of the good.

    • Re:To require? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dcooper_db9 (1044858) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:36PM (#46152417)

      Indeed, this is in the pre-rule stage. The NHTSA will soon publish a report and submit it for public comment. We won't know if they have the authority under existing law until they publish their proposed rule. They may have to go to Congress and request additional authority. It will be years before any regulations actually change.

      Here is is an overview [regulations.gov] of how the regulatory process works in US federal agencies.

      Here's an excerpt from the NHTSA announcement [nhtsa.gov]:

      NHTSA is currently finalizing its analysis of the data gathered as part of its year-long pilot program and will publish a research report on V2V communication technology for public comment in the coming weeks. The report will include analysis of the Department's research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits. NHTSA will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year, consistent with applicable legal requirements, Executive Orders, and guidance. DOT believes that the signal this announcement sends to the market will significantly enhance development of this technology and pave the way for market penetration of V2V safety applications.

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:26PM (#46151221)

    This will make people worse drivers. How about a car that notices the driver not paying attention and and gives them a mild electric shock.

    This does the opposite.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      This will make people worse drivers.

      And, since as you point out in your subject, the reams of older cars without this in it is going to more or less negate the benefits of it.

      So you'll get a small number of cars on the road networked and keeping track of each other, and a larger number of completely random entities.

      They won't be able to make all cars retroactively do this, and unless all cars are using this the system is essentially worthless.

      If people start to assume they'll get a beep if there's suddenly

      • They won't be able to make all cars retroactively do this, and unless all cars are using this the system is essentially worthless.

        Woah, worthless?

        You're telling me that if there are 2 self-driving cars on the road with 20 old non-network cars, there is no benefit for those 2 cars to coordinate?

        What about the two smartcars coordinating their shared view of all of the "dumb" cars?
        "Car 2, this is car 1. Dumbcar 249234 is next to me, in front of dumbtruck 2352 and has decreased speed from 72mph to 30mph and dropping."
        "ACK Car 1, dumbtruck 2352 is directly in front of me. Reducing speed to increase space between myself and dumbtruck 2352,

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          You're telling me that if there are 2 self-driving cars on the road with 20 old non-network cars, there is no benefit for those 2 cars to coordinate?

          I'm saying that if 90% of the other cars don't have this, the benefit to those 10% is minimal, and the potential is high for those 10% to 'assume' things are safe instead of driving their car like they're responsible for it.

          Essentially you'll get an early warning system for the people with new cars, and the rest of the drivers will help demonstrate how little b

        • Seriously.

          It's like all the old car guys are missing that the smart cars might still be able to see & react to the dumb cars.

          Resulting in fewer accidents.

          • Which will be partially or completely offset by additional accidents caused by drivers of new cars sleeping at the wheel.

      • by PRMan (959735)

        I have a car that already does this (for about 3 months now) and I haven't noticed that I quit paying attention to my mirrors. But I can tell you that there have been at least 5 times when I was sure the lane next to me was empty but the blind spot light was on. 4 times, somebody had legitimately come into my blind spot from an unseen angle. This is 4 near-misses that have been avoided as I didn't even start the lane change or even signal. Once, it was a false alarm. There really was nobody there and I

        • Three near misses in 3 months: Haven't quit paying attention.

          Based on my years of driving. One of those things is not true. Then again, you could be driving in Shanghai or Mumbai.

        • by karnal (22275)

          I had the pleasure of renting a vehicle with the rear cross-traffic alert. I hadn't noticed a vehicle moving behind me in a crowded parking lot... the system beeped like crazy, made me hit the brakes right away without any real prompting otherwise. Stuff like that is something I'll definitely have in my next vehicle.

        • But I can tell you that there have been at least 5 times (for about 3 months now) when I was sure the lane next to me was empty but the blind spot light was on.

          So, how many accidents were you getting into every year before you purchased this new car?

        • But I can tell you that there have been at least 5 times when I was sure the lane next to me was empty but the blind spot light was on. 4 times, somebody had legitimately come into my blind spot from an unseen angle.

          Are you sure you have your mirrors adjusted correctly? Many (most?) people adjust their side mirrors so they can see the rear end of their car, but better method is to adjust them so the images slightly overlap with the center mirror - as described here [caranddriver.com] or here [wisc.edu] or here [wikihow.com]. (or Google: adjust car side mirror) This method eliminates all of the blind spots.

          To adjust mine, I simply park on a long straight road and adjust each side mirror until the image on the inside edge just overlaps the image on the outside

          • But I can tell you that there have been at least 5 times when I was sure the lane next to me was empty but the blind spot light was on. 4 times, somebody had legitimately come into my blind spot from an unseen angle.

            Are you sure you have your mirrors adjusted correctly? Many (most?) people adjust their side mirrors so they can see the rear end of their car, but better method is to adjust them so the images slightly overlap with the center mirror - as described here [caranddriver.com] or here [wisc.edu] or here [wikihow.com]. (or Google: adjust car side mirror) This method eliminates all of the blind spots.

            To adjust mine, I simply park on a long straight road and adjust each side mirror until the image on the inside edge just overlaps the image on the outside edge of the center mirror.

            I just buy the little convex mirrors and stick them on my side mirrors. This way I can see anything to either side of me no matter where they are. I primarily got them for towing my boat but they work great for everyday driving.

        • Never mind that you're saying you nearly avoided collisions four times (got your fenders straightened out yet?), but if you've made the same (to my mind, young driver's) mistake four times in recent memory, perhaps you need to turn off the radio, put down the fast food, stop playing with your phone and pay attention to what you're doing. I'm sorry that some quantity of silicone is required to bring your driving skills up to par; how is that going to happen if you're constantly relying upon technology is be
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      How about cellphones that notice your driving and become bricked?

      I do like older cars more and more, but because I feel less spied upon than the microphones and gps they have built in now (at least the spooks will have to go to the trouble of wiring my car) and because the Germans also want the power to shut cars off in the future with a press of the button.

      Not because of any legitimate safety feature.

    • by Ravaldy (2621787) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:07PM (#46153737)

      Maybe but I'll tell you what. I'd love my car to be able to tell me there's an accident ahead. I just had to wait 3 hours due to a 50 car pileup. It wasn't pretty. According to the fireman I spoke to, it started with only 2 cars, quickly turned ugly as more cars arrived at high speed no knowing about the stoppage ahead due to limited visibility. Luckilly, I don't think anybody died but 10 rigs were left on the side of the road overnight along with many cars. It could have been much worst.

      One could say slow down but you and me both know it's not going to happen. "Human nature". When you can't change the driver you put measured in place to protect the drivers. In this case communication between vehicles could enable notifications to avoid crazy accidents like the one I witnessed.

      As for your comment about drivers paying attention. I though I read something about Android developing technology to prevent the use of the phone while driving unless commands are performed via voice. Would be cool if someone linked the article.

  • security? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gtall (79522) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:27PM (#46151225)

    Unless they also mandate good levels of security for these systems, it will end in tears.

    • Security. HEH!

      Nonono. These systems are going to be minimally guarded (if at all). Simply because putting in a secure system is pretty much beyond these people.

      I can see someone breaking into these systems with minimal effort and causing accidents pretty much at will.

      I can see brisk business in after-market spygear removal packages...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Some people look at this and say "hmm, could I cause the car in front of me to have an accident". I look at this and say "hmm, could I make the grandma in front of me get out of the fucking left lane".

        • You never cause the car in front of you to have an accident. Always wait until you pass that car and THEN make it have an accident.

        • Or speed way the fuck up!

        • by gmuslera (3436)
          The functionality of the cars in front of me just to leave me free pass and turn off will surely be implemented. Think in the ambulances! and the police, the politicians, the CEOs, those premium cars, and so on. Will be a symbol of status to be able to make all the other cars to respect yours, no matter how much accidents that cause. Probably will be the main reason that will make all of this to be approved.
      • by PRMan (959735)
        Actually, I thought BMW and Hyundai were the ones with problems in this area (BMWs easily stolen and Hyundais with false positives preventing their owners from driving).
    • robopocalypse.
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      All the opposite, they will be required to have backdoors, and security, as with most embedded things, will be a long posponed priority (even 0day fixes will have to pass the NSA approval [yahoo.com] to get applied, or wait till get widely enough exploited). And you cellphone will be a vector to cause massive "accidents" if the car don't connect by itself to internet.
  • some not-so-distant driving dystopia.

    It's not going to be just a driving dystopia ... we're hurtling towards the worst form of Cyberpunk dystopian future in all aspects of our lives.

    Pervasive spying, lack of privacy, and everything around you is reporting what you do to advertisers who then 'own' the data about your life.

    It's far far more than just cars.

  • If each vehicle just acts as a "bubble" with fixed radius, and each vehicle can brake such that its bubble cannot completely compress, then in principle no collisions can occur.

    • Until someone sends every car a rogue "Look out you're about to crash!" signal, and every car hits the brakes as hard as they can. Then you get to find who has sub-par brakes, and who doesn't have a smart vehicle yet (or maybe who circumvented it).

      Would emergency vehicles have this as well? I can see not implementing it in police vehicles (might need to ram, or otherwise contact another vehicle in the course of duty), or Fire or EMS vehicle. They would then be susceptible to this sort of thing (when the

      • Yeah, only if they plan to be able to have long range communication rather than short range communication. I still can't get 4G at my house, 2 miles from a national interstate. I'm not worried about their long range communications.

      • Re:Dynamics (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:39PM (#46152491)
        Like back in the seventies - L.A.P.D. got a fleet of fifty brand new vehicles, I forget which model of Ford they were. First cop to catch a speeder in one of the new souped up cruisers stomps the gas, accelerates almost instantly to the vehicles maximum governed speed of 55mph, and watches his quota for the month go bye-bye. But the officer was safe at all times, the vehicle prevented him from placing himself in unnecessary danger by enforcing his compliance with the very laws he was supposed to be enforcing. That's good, right?
    • by Wycliffe (116160)

      Great in theory but that bubble is extremely large. At 60 miles per hour the safe stopping distance is over 300 feet. I've
      never been on a busy highway where cars are spaced at least 300 feet apart. And even if you do solve that problem
      you still haven't solved lane changes or even worse oncoming traffic where you pass within a few feet of each other at a
      combined speed of over 120 miles per hour. That's one of the reasons planes are so much safer than cars. There are
      far fewer of them and they can separat

      • by PRMan (959735)
        That's human reaction time. A computer could stop in probably about 200 feet. But still your point is well-made.
    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      If each vehicle just acts as a "bubble" with fixed radius, and each vehicle can brake such that its bubble cannot completely compress, then in principle no collisions can occur.

      That's only true if no vehicle has an interest in lying about itself in the system. The principle only works if you trust the information you receive from the other participants in the radius.

  • This will prevent people from driving at a high rate of speed in the left lane, slamming on the brakes and swerving into the right lane just so they don't have to wait in line like everyone else or because they wanted to get one car ahead.

    This will never fly because it's everyone's right to drive like they want.

    P.S. I am completely and unequivocally opposed to this nonsensical crap being mandated for cars. If you can't pay attention to where you're driving, you shouldn't be driving. We need to stop coddlin

    • by Merk42 (1906718)

      This will prevent people from driving at a high rate of speed in the left lane, slamming on the brakes and swerving into the right lane just so they don't have to wait in line like everyone else or because they wanted to get one car ahead.

      This will never fly because it's everyone's right to drive like they want.

      If I want to drive on the sidewalk, it's my right!

      P.S. I am completely and unequivocally opposed to this nonsensical crap being mandated for cars. If you can't pay attention to where you're driving, you shouldn't be driving. We need to stop coddling people and let them find out the hard way why rules of the road and safe driving methods exist.

      That implies the only ones getting harmed from unsafe drivers are the unsafe drivers themselves.



      Not saying I'm in favor of this either though.

    • Re:Not a good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:48PM (#46151555) Homepage

      We need to stop coddling people and let them find out the hard way why rules of the road and safe driving methods exist.

      So when someone who is obeying the rules of the road gets killed by some idiot who isn't, are you suggesting your right to be a moron extends to the point where you could cause harm to someone else?

      Your 'right' to drive how you see fit ends where the potential for you to damage me begins.

      Your right of free expression ends at my nose. And your right to drive like an asshole ends at the point where there are other people on the road who could harmed by your stupidity.

      You want an unrestricted right to drive that way? Drive on your own damned property. Once you're out on public roads with other people, you do NOT have the right to just drive however you like.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      This will never fly because it's everyone's right to drive like they want.

      No it's not. We have rules and regulations to increase the probability of safe driving. You only have the right to drive how society dictates how you can drive. Drive outside of what society deems safe; we give you ticket. Keep driving dangerously, we throw you in jail.

  • by Glires (200409) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:33PM (#46151315)

    So all I have to do is alter my car so that it tells the other cars that I am approaching from behind at 120 mph when I'm really only driving 60 mph and the cars in front of me will automatically swerve out of my way! Awesome!

    • by number17 (952777)
      Is this something something that law enforcement, fire trucks, and ambulances could leverage in an emergency? Perhaps it would be used by Presidential convoys, visiting dignitaries and diplomats, or celebrities wanting to drag race.
    • You could do that now with a set of cop lights for your roof or grill.

      You don't because, choose one: 1) You're not an asshole or 2) You realize it won't be a net time savings, once you include the time in court and picking up trash on the shoulder.

      • You could do that now with a set of cop lights for your roof or grill.

        You don't because, choose one: 1) You're not an asshole or 2) You realize it won't be a net time savings, once you include the time in court and picking up trash on the shoulder.

        FYI, the crime of "impersonating a police officer" carries a far stiffer penalty than a few hours of community service.

        • Around here the jails are overfull. You can more or less assume you won't spend long in jail for non-violent offenses.

          FYI the restrictions on colors of lights is for 'emergency vehicles' only. Tow trucks (or any car) can have flashing lights, just not red and blue ones.

          Red and blue (IIRC) lights is not impersonating a police officer. It's impersonating an emergency vehicle.

          In any case nobody games the system, because it makes no sense. How big a problem are bootleg strobe light traffic light changers

  • While the general goal is noteworthy, the obvious problem here is that the security will be just as lack-luster as all the other car-related tech, ie. it'll be broken pretty fast and then it'll spread everywhere. And you won't be able to disable this V2V, either. Then it's just a matter of terrorists/kiddies/bored/plain, old evil people installing black boxes on the sides of the roads or whatever that send false V2V-messages, causing all sorts of hickups, stalling traffic, causing accidents and so on. And t

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:35PM (#46151341) Homepage Journal

    Take note that the government isn't requiring the communication be secure from hacking, spoofing, or eavesdropping.

    I can see this as another police tactic, where they can force your car to stop by spoofing that it's about to be rammed from all directions by other cars.

    Of course, this presents a wide range of hilarious opportunities for hackers!

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      You law enforcement agencies won't need to hack your system, citizen. Agents of all local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies will be free to disable any automobiles(s) participating, or anticipated to participate, in any and all illegal or unauthorized activities--such as fleeing police, traveling to commit a potential crime, traveling to or from an unauthorized protest or meeting, or attempting to enter an unauthorized or unsanctioned area. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:35PM (#46151351)

    The future is apparently bridges that ask how fast cars are going so speeding tickets can be automatically issued.

    Sounds awesome - for those of us that have the technical ability to disable the chatter.

    • Here locally we had a judge who actually tossed out every single red-light camera ticket if you went before him and requested to face your accuser. The city promptly changed the law making running a red light a civil infraction (fine).

    • by bigpat (158134)
      At this point state and local police are likely just figuring out that as we move to autonomous cars then that will likely eliminate speeding tickets unless people override their own systems. This is a fairly significant revenue stream that is threatened. Of course tens of thousands of lives might be saved every year if cars are crashing less, but some bean counters aren't going to see it that way and there is going to be push back to still keep drivers in control and legally responsible even though the c
    • by awtbfb (586638)

      In many US States, the local Departments of Transportation want nothing to do with enforcement actions. They will let the police/town/etc install red light cameras, but they don't want to be involved beyond that. In fact many red light cameras are operated by private companies under contract with local municipalities.

      Here's an example of why DOTs don't want to be involved in enforcement. A while back some politician in New Jersey, not part of the local DOT, floated the idea of using EZPass toll data to auto

  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:36PM (#46151367)

    Combine this with remote kill-switches or pulse guns, Amber-alert scrolling signs, proliferating cameras, automatic plate recognition and unstoppable text messages from on high for some not-so-distant driving dystopia.

    Or you could combine this with smarter power grids, EV technology, improved image recognition, and automated driver technology for some not-so-distant driving utopia.

    Technology isn't good or bad. It's all about how it's used. This is just as much the technology that can build a utopia as it is a dystopia, but if we always act solely in fear of the dystopia we'll simply be stagnant forever.

    • by bigpat (158134)

      As I posted above. I don't think cars reporting their locations is particularly useful for autonomous crash avoidance... Yes if you are using differential gps the resolution is optimally 10 cm which is adequate for crash avoidance, but that isn't going to hold true for all environmental conditions or with unintentional or intentional interference. This needs to be shown to be more effective both in terms of cost and safety than simply relying on the cars own sensors before being accepted as a safety sta

  • by jabberwock (10206) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:38PM (#46151403) Homepage
    If you want to drive -- if that's really your thing, your passion, your hobby -- I'm sure there will always be a place you can go and do that.

    Societally, I'm glad to have us focusing on improving safety and efficiency of transportation.

    Think past the automobile era.

    • Societally, I'm glad to have us focusing on improving safety and efficiency of transportation.

      Were that the actual goal, why not just mandate that all cars have an auto-pilot function by Year X? Spyware doesn't really fulfill that purpose.

  • Your local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies need to monitor your position, speed, and activities at all times in order to ensure your safety. Thank you for your cooperation!

  • I see this as inevitable, really.

    If we want autonomous vehicles to be maximally efficient, this has to happen. They move out of the way for a police officer or for somebody who has to change their route at the last minute and get to an exit from the opposite lane. More importantly, self-driving cars can cluster together. Take India for example; they drive 4-5 cars wide in lanes marked for 3. Highly efficient, but highly unsafe for human operators.

    This doesn't have to invade our privacy or be implement

    • somebody who has to change their route at the last minute and get to an exit from the opposite lane

      If we take this concept to the "ideal", you shouldn't have drivers cutting over at the last minute because they didn't realize their exit was there. You will have your destination programmed in, your car will move over when it is time to, and will make the exit without driving across multiple lanes and possibly causing accidents.

      I see nothing wrong with this ideal of everyone having a self-driving car. I do,

  • So, my car won't allow me to get closer than 2 seconds behind the car in front of me. Great. Now what happens when a car wizzed by and cuts in front of me. Does my car suddenly jam on brakes and cause an accident behind me?
    • by PRMan (959735)

      My car already does this (radar to not hit the car in front of me while in cruise control) and the only situations I have to worry about now are:

      1. Cars in front of me coming to a ridiculously fast stop
      2. Getting cut off by an idiot in a space that really isn't big enough.

  • Will the next step will be regulated departure time? For the greater good a decision will be made when you can stay and when you can leave your home. We all know that late departure causes drivers to be aggressive and irritated, causes excessive speeding and other unacceptable behavior. Here is how this will work. Drivers will get the allotted time for departure, for example, between 7:30 AM and 7:40 AM. If you are late to start driving at that time your car will notify you to stay in the garage, because o
  • Automated driving (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Salgat (1098063) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:45PM (#46151515)
    In the context of automated driving this pairs beautifully. The future is very much having computers drive us, it simply is more efficient and much safer. Giving them extra tools to enhance safety is great considering we aren't concerned about being liable for what the computer decides to do (since that is the liability of the manufacturer).
  • If every car was self driving you could eliminate bridges and traffic lights. You could have full speed ground level crossings where the cars seamlessly weave past each other.

  • ... I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. A mesh network is a natural step to take on the path to fully automating roads and all but eliminating the dangers of the road. Naturally the next step would be to mandate cars to participate in the network, to get the best data. I just wasn't predicting it would be in this decade. Mind you, the recent advances in automatic driving without mesh networking has also been surprising, so maybe I should have seen this coming.

    I don't know what the submitter is so wor

  • When I saw this reported on The Evening News last night (which evidently also is "News for Nerds", only faster), they said that 30,000 people die in the US every year due to auto accidents. If this technology could prevent just a fraction of those, it's worth doing.

    Some dystopia. Those of you who are worried about the NSA using this as a new way to spy on you in the future should be more worried about how airbags and seatbelts are being used to spy on you now. And before that, way back in the 1930s, shor

  • There's enough unpatched Windows XP desktops up for grabs on eBay and yard sales to make this happen. Worked for utility companies.

  • We can't even get them to include backup cameras in all cars, something that's been required in ALL new cars for several years. How do you expect this to ever be installed in every car?
  • V2V Developer (Score:5, Informative)

    by apharmdq (219181) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:23PM (#46152151)

    So I'm actually working on this technology, and every time I see an article about this, there's inevitably some concern about safety, security, government spying, etc.

    First off, the reason this technology would be required in all vehicles is that it essentially consists of in-car wifi routers that send their GPS location to other cars. In order for the technology to work properly, all cars would need it, so they can all see each other. Obviously it's a big transition, but it has to be done eventually. New cars would come with the devices built in, and older cars would have after-market devices that can be purchased and installed. However, once in place, vehicle awareness will greatly reduce accidents and increase roadside efficiency. (Think of it this way; The traffic signals are almost always green when you approach an intersection.)

    But wouldn't all that be pretty expensive? Not really. The core technology is pretty basic stuff. It's just gps and wifi, really. The fancy stuff, like in-car radar, video cameras, and so forth that you find in some of the luxury cars today isn't really necessary, though from what I gather, it could be plugged in to augment the system. For the most part, consumers won't notice a price change, and in the worst case, they'd have to spend a couple hundred to retrofit their old cars.

    All fine and dandy, but what about hackers and people that would abuse the tech? Well, the system is being designed from the ground up to be heavily encrypted and secure. One of the government requirements for the companies developing this is that it meet certain security standards, and since this stuff is used to keep people from dying, you can bet testing will involve trying to exploit every aspect of it. The only issue I can see is malicious signal jamming, though since it requires a unique frequency, people doing this would be caught pretty easily.

    Finally, we get to the issue of government spying. Since every vehicle is transmitting its location, doesn't this mean that the government could track everybody, or gather other information about them? This is actually very unlikely. The development of V2V tech has been fairly hands-off on the government's part. Their primary contribution has been to lay down certain standards and requirements for the tech, and then let the commercial companies implement it. One of their requirements has been that none of the data can be used to identify any vehicle in any way, which has certainly been a challenge to implement from the development side.
    And to add my own anecdotal evidence, I've looked through all of the code used, from the firmware to the utilities, and I've seen nothing that could be used as a backdoor to get the information. Likewise, I've worked extensively with the hardware and done all kinds of signal analysis, and as far as I can see, there's nothing illicit on the hardware end either.

    And don't forget, the V2V tech isn't only being implemented in the US, but Japan, Europe, and China as well. (To the best of my knowledge.) A lot of the hardware and software is shared between the companies working on it and they all have to fit a certain standard.

    In any case, I'm sure few people will be placated by my explanation, but I myself would not be averse to having this system installed in my own car.

    • by apharmdq (219181)

      Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention. None of this takes control of your car in any way. It would just be used to provide information to built in indicators in the cars. Perhaps a HUD that would show the locations of other cars with relation to yours, especially in your blind spot. Or to flash a collision warning if you're pulling out of a blind intersection while another car is coming. Or to warn you when a vehicle 5 cars ahead of you on the freeway has slammed on its brakes.

      I'm sure that self-drivin

    • by hacker (14635)

      "Finally, we get to the issue of government spying. Since every vehicle is transmitting its location, doesn't this mean that the government could track everybody, or gather other information about them? This is actually very unlikely. The development of V2V tech has been fairly hands-off on the government's part. Their primary contribution has been to lay down certain standards and requirements for the tech, and then let the commercial companies implement it."

      Don't be ridiculous.

      Within a hour of this being

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