A report released Wednesday said U.S. regulators were set to drop a mandate that would have required new cars to be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) systems, but the U.S. Department of Transportation says it has not made a final decision.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Trump Administration was scrapping plans for a V2V mandate, which originated under the Obama Administration. That proposal was made last December, although the government hasn't come close to rolling out binding rules.
"The Department of Transportation and NHTSA have not made any final decision on the proposed rule-making concerning a V2V mandate," the DOT told >The Verge. "Any reports to the contrary are mistaken. In all events, DOT hopes to use the dedicated spectrum for transportation lifesaving technologies. Safety is the department's number one priority."
V2V allows cars to send information to each other using dedicated short-range communication, and needs a bandwidth spectrum set aside for it. The widespread use of cellphones and other devices that rely on wireless communication has created fierce competition for these slices of the spectrum, so the DOT's plans to reserve a dedicated spectrum for "transportation lifesaving technologies" could prove to be a major lifeline for V2V.
Advocates of V2V believe the technology can make roads safer by providing drivers with more information about hazards. V2V could, for example, allow a car to signal its presence to nearby vehicles at intersections where visibility is limited, or broadcast information about crashes or poor weather conditions.
Even if a V2V mandate stalls, automakers may continue to pursue the technology. Mercedes-Benz began adding V2V capabilities to its cars beginning with the last redesign of the E-Class, and Cadillac is now equipping the CTS for V2V. But this piecemeal solution may not bring about the benefits V2V's advocates expect. V2V requires a critical mass of vehicles "talking" to each other. Having a V2V-equipped car won't do much good if there are no other cars around for it to exchange information with. So even if a V2V mandate is enacted, it will take a considerable amount of time for enough V2V-equipped cars to hit the road and begin chatting up a storm.