Federal V2V Mandate Hits Roadblock

A NHTSA safety proposal dealing with vehicle-to-vehicle communication is now in limbo.

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Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology is in a difficult spot. While the Obama-era National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came up with a proposal to mandate V2V technology in new cars, a new NHTSA leader has yet to be nominated.

The idea is to equip every new car on the road with dedicated short-range communications tech so vehicles can talk with each other to prevent accidents, among other uses. This would work with existing safety tech like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. Believe it or not, everyone has an opinion about it.

There aren’t really any party lines on this issue, and even automakers can’t see eye-to-eye. While everyone seems to agree that the idea is good, not everyone agrees on how it should be implemented.

Proponents of the mandate like it because of the obvious safety benefits. (One thing everyone agrees on is that fewer accidents and traffic deaths would be a good thing.) The Association of Global Automakers, which includes Toyota and Honda, supports the proposal, and points out that over $1 billion has already been invested in V2V systems.

GM is a staunch defender of the mandate, but the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers of which they’re a member (along with Ford, Volkswagen, and many others) has some critiques. Their main complaint with the mandate is its failure to address security. Tesla has a similar gripe, saying the NHTSA strategy falls short in protection and privacy of the messages being communicated between cars.

It remains to see how this will play out. With an administration that’s determined to cut back on regulations, this could get scrapped entirely—or, its popular safety benefits could help push it through.