Could a smarter car make driving safer? The U.S. Department of Transportation hopes to find out through a pilot safety program which launched in Ann Arbor Michigan last week. Through the program, close to 3,000 wireless enabled vehicles took to the streets in participation of a year-long study to see whether or not “connected” vehicles can “help avoid crashes and improve traffic flow,” the DOT stated. The vehicles, many of which have been supplied by project participants, have been equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication devices that will allow the vehicles to remain aware of each other and to warn their drivers when a dangerous situation arises. Drivers of outfitted vehicles will be alerted when their vehicle comes too close to another car, for example, or if a vehicle is approaching them from a blind spot.
In addition to monitoring other vehicles and aiding drivers, the technology will also gather data from vehicles about system operability and effectiveness which will be utilized by the National Highway Safety Administration in to determine whether or not connected safety technology and similar technologies should be implemented in the future.
The DOT hopes that the program will not only make driving safer by making drivers more aware of their surroundings and potential hazards, but that it will also help improve transportation efficiency and infrastructure.
While the program is still in testing, it will be interesting to see what this study will mean for the future of transportation and labor. Though OSHA’s jurisdiction is limited to the operations of vehicles within the workplace and to intrastate trucking (barring the transportation of hazardous waste), such programs, could potentially be utilized to reduce work-related automobile accidents.
photo credit: freedigitalphoto.com, mapichai