US traffic safety body is researching vehicle-to-vehicle communication

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The US’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced they’re working to make it easier for cars to use vehicle-to-vehicle technology.

Ever since autonomous cars first appeared in the headlines, transportation thinkers said this was only a matter of time: Before long, all our cars would be talking to each other wirelessly, sharing information about their speed, directional heading and more, all in an effort to avoid crashes. Now, it sounds like all those Cassandras were right: The NHTSA is moving towards a future in which our cars are all inter-connected.

The NHTSA is supposed to be particularly interested in technology that makes left-hand turns and intersections safer. Supposedly, the tech they’re looking at warns drivers of cars in their blind spots, and tells them when other motorists are running red lights.

The prospect of having safer automobiles might initially make riders happier, but the implications for motorcyclists are alarming: If Big Brother has an eye on auto traffic, chances are he’s going to be looking for ways to hook motorcyclists into this system as well. And even if the government doesn’t require this for motorcycles, chances are your insurance company is looking into technology like this. Don’t forget Saskatchewan’s investigation into using telematics on bikes. In the future, pull a wheelie or grind a peg, and The Man will know.

But for now, the NHTSA says surveillance of motorists’ habits is not their intention. The system they’re currently looking at does not identify individual motorist’s cars. According to their press release, “the system as contemplated contains several layers of security and privacy protection to ensure that vehicles can rely on messages sent from other vehicles.”

You can find more information on the NHTSA’s program here.

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