It's one thing to read or hear about Connected Vehicle technology--an innovation where cars communicate with each other and provide information to help drivers make safe decisions. It's quite another to ride in a vehicle equipped with this promising technology and experience the benefits firsthand.
Well, that's exactly what has been happening in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan for the past several months. As part of a real-world study, real people are driving nearly 3,000 vehicles equipped with this state-of-the-art safety technology.
It's not the kind of test you can duplicate in a lab. It’s the largest ever test of connected vehicles or Vehicle To Vehicle (V2V) technology in a real-world environment, and it’s helping us to collect the data we need to illustrate the safety benefits of V2V and guide forthcoming decisions.
That's why we invited decision-makers here in Washington, DC, to experience the benefits of V2V this week, not from inside an office but from inside a vehicle.
U.S. Representative Tom Petri of Wisconsin tests this innovative safety technology
And they responded. Members of Congress, congressional staff, Federal Communications Commission staff, an FCC Commissioner, and staff from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications Information Administration all came out to RFK Stadium to test out the vehicles.
V2V informs driver of the trailing vehicle (far right) of a sudden braking event two cars ahead (far left).
For example, Connected Vehicle technology relies on dedicated short range communication. That spectrum is managed by the FCC, so it makes sense to help FCC staff and Commissioners see what V2V can do for the safety of Americans on our roads before sitting down to work through the technical aspects of operating in this spectrum.
Did our guest passengers like what they saw? We'll find out as we continue moving forward. But if they experienced what I have, they walked away knowing that connected vehicle technology is a big idea worth pursuing--for the safety of everyone on our roads.