GM exec promotes connected vehicles

GM chief executive Mary Barra has taken to the Washington Post op ed page to promote connected-vehicle technology. She writes, “The United States could be on the cusp of a great leap forward in automotive safety. All that’s required is for the auto industry to rally behind the scientists and engineers who have spent the past decade developing a wireless technology called V2X”—including vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure.

She cites figures from the Department of Transportation suggesting that V2V could avoid 70% to 80% of crashes involving unimpaired drivers.

She continues, “This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. It’s engineering reality. And we’re ready to move it from the lab to the nation’s roads.”

She notes that the 2017 Cadillac CTS would be the first GM vehicle to implement V2X technology—but she doesn’t want the Cadillacs to be “islands unto themselves.”

She offers a suggestion: “Equipping our highways with sensors, cameras and other technologies that can communicate with these networked cars is the next logical step. Congress should help pave the way for V2I by including funding in the next transportation bill for more research on strategies to develop and pay for the associated infrastructure improvements.”

Well, Congress can’t even pave over potholes. But there is some hope for government support. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx reported in a blog post last month that DoT has recently completed a V2V pilot program involving more than 3,000 cars—some tested on the streets of Ann Arbor.

“This pilot program provided us with such valuable data that we then took a key step forward in implementing V2V; in February of this year, we announced that DOT will begin work on a rule that will require V2V technology in all new vehicles.”

Significantly, he added, “It's also important to note that V2V isn’t just about the cars themselves. It involves the transit and roadway infrastructure that DOT helps build and maintain.”

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