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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs