Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Communicating Cars

PostedNovember 13, 2011

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Anchor Lede: Maybe your car already has sensors to detect some hazards…but soon it could be communicating with other cars and traffic signals to help you avoid accidents.

Randy Atkins: You can’t always see everything around you – all the potential dangers – on the road. So Jim Sayer, at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, is equipping thousands of vehicles with wireless communication systems.

Jim Sayer: They’ll be sharing with each other, where they’re located relative to each other.

Randy Atkins: So drivers can be warned if, say, a speeding vehicle is approaching the intersection ahead. They can also respond to messages from roadside monitors, like…

Jim Sayer: Slow down, you’re going too fast for the upcoming curve.

Randy Atkins: Exactly how vehicles will alert the driver is still in the works.

Jim Sayer: Would it be lights…or a vibrating seat or steering wheel?

Randy Atkins: The system will get a real-life road test in about a year. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

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The first test will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan.