How Germany Is Getting Cars to Talk to Each Other (And Traffic Lights)

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    Oct 26, 2012 10:26 PM GMT
    A cool trial coming out of Germany.

    When you think of the “connected car” you’re likely envisioning a smartphone interfacing with a vehicle to stream music, update your social media status and keep you up on the day’s events. But that’s one part of a much larger equation.

    Governments in the U.S. and Europe have developed technology that allows cars to speak to each other – and the larger transportation infrastructure – to reduce accidents, traffic and fuel consumption. Earlier this year we looked at NHTSA’s year-long connected-car field trial in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a similar three-month effort by the German government, both of which kicked off in August.

    Now we’ve got a firsthand look at how it works, and what happens when cars and infrastructure communicate. At Continental’s test track in Frankfurt, Germany, we got behind the wheel of a BMW test vehicle outfitted with a transceiver that uses Wi-Fi-like connectivity to communicate with both a traffic light and an emergency vehicle, all of which is part of the simTD field trial.

    Whereas the primary purpose of the NHTSA test is to study how connected cars can save lives, the simTD test is designed to examine how connected cars and infrastructure can save fuel and time normally wasted in traffic tie-ups, along with the ability to prevent accidents and inform drivers of emergency vehicles in their path.
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    Oct 26, 2012 10:32 PM GMT
    When I think of a "connected car" I think of 3+ cars in a pileup that requires a multitude of tow trucks to pry them apart.

    ...kinda like I-95 during rush hour every day.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4999

    Oct 27, 2012 6:14 AM GMT
    What about motorcycles? Will all vehicles, including motorcycles, be required to be connected? Will motorcycles be banned so I will have to stop riding?

    In my opinion, all devices in cars that result in excessive distraction should not be used while driving. That includes cell phones, GPS, excessively complicated touch-screen controls, etc. And, using them while driving should be illegal with a very heavy fine imposed if one has been found to have been using these devices while driving. These devices are causing accidents.

    Also, here in the U.S., it is much too easy to get a driving license. Driver training and testing should be much more thorough and re-testing should be required every five years or so. Obviously that would cost money, but probably the improved safety would result in lower insurance costs and that could pay for it.