News / USA

Cost Could Be Big Factor in 'Talking' Cars Acceptance

Reuters
Cars that “talk'' to each other to avoid crashes or traffic jams, like those being tested here, will save lives but the cost of the systems will determine consumers' acceptance of such technology, the U.S. transportation secretary said on Tuesday.
 
“These are definitely safer vehicles. At what cost though?'' Ray LaHood told reporters at a connected-vehicle conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “To me, that's what the bottom line's going to be. Safety has a cost and we're going to have to make that judgment.''
 
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood , June 15, 2012.U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood , June 15, 2012.
x
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood , June 15, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood , June 15, 2012.
LaHood declined to estimate what the cost of the technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other and surrounding infrastructure would need to be to attract wide adoption by consumers.
 
“It will be up to car manufacturers to help us figure out what the cost of all this is going to be,'' LaHood, the outgoing transportation chief, said at a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute conference.
 
Since last August, U.S. officials have been testing a fleet of “talking'' cars in Ann Arbor that may help American drivers avoid crashes and traffic jams.
 
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan fitted almost 3,000 cars, trucks, busses and motorcycles with wireless devices that track other vehicles' speed and location, alert drivers to congestion, or change a traffic light to green.
 
Vehicle-to-vehicle communication may help avoid or reduce the severity of four out of five crashes that occur when a driver is not impaired, U.S. regulators have said.
 
Results from the study will help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decide whether the technology should be mandatory. A decision on such a rule will not be made until the testing in completed in August, officials have said.
 
LaHood said transportation officials have been studying the first six months of data from the test, but he does not expect any conclusions for about a year. He said the technology has operated just as officials expected.
 
Officials in the test program said about 8 billion transmissions between vehicles and infrastructure have been sent since the test in Ann Arbor began.
 
The road test in Ann Arbor, a college town of nearly 28 square miles (73 square kilometers), is the largest of its kind and cost $25 million. Eight major automakers, including General Motors Co and Toyota Motor Corp, supplied the cars.
 
The vehicles in the test can communicate with roadside devices in 29 areas in Ann Arbor. If conditions are safe, the vehicles can change the traffic light to green or let the driver know if a light is about to change.
 
Connected vehicle systems use a technology similar to Wifi called dedicated short range communication, which is unlikely to be vulnerable to interference, U.S. officials said.
 
The cars can track other cars' location and speed. They can also determine if a driver is braking or turning the wheel. Details such as the license number or VIN number are not shared.
 
The road test represents the second phase of the transportation department's connected vehicle safety program. In a study conducted in 2011 and early 2012, the department found that nine out of 10 drivers had a “highly favorable'' opinion of vehicle-to-vehicle technology. LaHood said he assumed there would be a third phase in the testing.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid