Will the Car of the Future Be Required to Drive Itself?
Over the course of the next year, 3,000 cars, trucks, and buses in Detroit will be equipped to communicate traffic and road hazard data to each other and to the drivers. The project will cost $25 million dollars and will focus on improving transportation safety by making drivers aware of accidents or hazardous road conditions.
The NY Times reports Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is considering whether similar wireless technology should be required in future vehicles:
Mr. LaHood said the $25 million study would yield data useful in deciding whether the government should require such crash avoidance technology in future vehicles.
“Cars talking to each other is the future of motor safety,” Mr. LaHood said at a ceremony Tuesday at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, which will install the wireless devices and collect data from the vehicles in the study.
Many cars can already park themselves (see a YouTube video of the Ford Explorer parking itself) , manage speed when set to cruise control, and alert the driver if the car swerves into another lane. Google has completed over 300,000 accident free miles in its self-driving car, and Europe has successfully completed tests of automated driver-less car "trains".
As more technology is introduced into our vehicles, new and different risks will have to be addressed. We have already seen cars hacked through the wireless tire sensors, and a hacker shut down over 100 cars remotely.