Automakers hope new technologies make cars safer

Each year, automakers adjust their designs and introduce new technologies to make their vehicles safer. In most cases, these new safety features are engineered to provide as much protection as possible to a vehicle's driver and passengers in the event of a car accident. Recently, however, automakers have begun developing technologies that will help vehicles avoid accidents altogether.

At the heart of these new systems are wireless technologies that allow vehicles to communicate with each other. Honda, for example, recently demonstrated its new technology, through which cars are able not only to communicate their locations and speeds, but also to provide alerts to drivers if a collision seems imminent. Honda did not stop with cars, however: it suggests that similar chips could be installed on motorcycles and on cell phones, which the automaker suggests would help prevent collisions with both motorcycles and pedestrians.

Although the current technologies simply provide alerts to drivers, engineers believe that this is only the beginning. One day, these systems will allow automobiles to act autonomously to avoid accidents with other vehicles.

Some of these suggestions may seem like science fiction, but the reality is that the implementation of these technologies may occur sooner than many believe. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report recommending further work on wireless systems for new automobiles. The report came as a result of several accidents at busy intersections involving school buses. In the NHTSA's view, wireless communication technologies may have been able to help prevent these accidents. The agency is currently working on drafting rules regarding the use of wireless technologies in cars.

The NHTSA has stepped up its efforts to make the use of wireless technology in cars feasible. For the past two years, the agency has been working with researchers at the University of Michigan to deploy vehicles equipped with wireless systems in the city of Ann Arbor. These systems allow vehicles to communicate with each other and with fixed features on the road, such as traffic lights and stop signs. So far, all indications are that these tests have been successful and will continue for the near future.

While researchers, safety experts and engineers are still working out the details of how these systems will operate, it is clear that wireless technology will play a significant role in ensuring the safety of drivers in the future. In fact, it very well may play a role in making serious car accidents a thing of the past.