In previous decades, motor vehicle designers and manufacturers have focused their efforts on protecting drivers and passengers who were involved in accidents from suffering serious or fatal injuries. Today, this focus has shifted to developing and installing technology systems in motor vehicles aimed to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.
While cars that talk to each other, brake automatically and even drive on their own were once only seen in futuristic sci-fi movies; today technological developments are making these functional capabilities a reality. New York City officials recently announced that the city will take part in a pilot program to test the effectiveness and safety benefits of so-called connected cars.
The pilot program is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and includes up to $20 million to pay for the installation of communication devices in "as many as 10,000 government vehicles, buses, taxis and delivery trucks over the next five years." Additionally, some private taxi and delivery companies may choose to opt-in to the program and install the devices in their vehicle fleets.
In addition to the installation of communication devices in individual automobiles, similar devices will be installed along certain streets and at intersections which will alert drivers of traffic jams, accidents and even pedestrian crosswalks. City officials also revealed that they plan to "develop a smartphone app that pedestrians could use to alert vehicles of their presence."
In addition to New York City, the DOT announced similar pilot programs will begin throughout state of Wyoming and in Tampa FL. Federal officials will closely monitor how the use of these devices impacts traffic safety and flow in the respective areas as it plans how to roll out connected-car systems on a national scale.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "New York City Tapped for Program to Decrease Traffic Injuries, Congestion," Andrew Tangel, Sept. 14, 2015