There May Soon be 9,000 ‘Talking’ Cars on Michigan Roads

There May Soon be 9,000 ‘Talking’ Cars on Michigan Roads

It won’t be long before cars can communicate with each other, relaying real-time safety information to reduce accidents and save lives.

The University of Michigan Transportation Safety Research Institute intends to triple the scale of an ongoing experiment currently using roughly 3,000 connected cars in Ann Arbor, Mich. By scaling the project up to roughly 9,000 vehicles, the project would learn more about large-scale implementation of the systems.

The project aims to learn more about potential safety benefits from vehicles that are able to gather information being sent between vehicles and from wireless communication devices built into infrastructure. Since starting in the summer of 2012, the project has collected data on four million trips and 25 million driven miles.

Initially expected to last one year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration extended the project by six months.

SEE ALSO: Connected Car Tests in Michigan Extended by NHTSA

Currently, there are eight automakers participating in the project, which aims to determine whether or not connected car technologies would present safety benefits worth the investment they would require.

But U-M plans to expand the project further to work on developing driverless cars, saying on Monday that it expects $100 million to be spend on developing that technology over the next eight years. The current project costs $25 million and draws 80 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of transportation, but UMTRI said it expects half of the projected $100 million to come from industry investment.

SEE ALSO: NHTSA Looking to Mandate Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Tech

That could spell faster progress for consumers. In early 2012, before the project began, NHTSA considered mandating vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Two years later, the government agency announced that it would begin taking steps to enable to systems in light-duty vehicles. A technology race to offer improved safety systems that seems many manufacturers working with U-M could help bring those systems to market more quickly than individual companies developing proprietary technology.

[Source: Ann Arbor News]