With US authorities already mulling new laws that would soon require all new cars to be equipped with V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) technology, the prototypes of self-driving cars already rely heavily on this new form of communication.
An example – among the many available today: recently an Acura RLX sedan showed a new “towing” capability in which the cars were not actually physically tied, but the second car followed closely and mirrored the first car’s reactions. That’s a new feat being demonstrated now – the first and second cars were tied in a “conversation”, with the first instructing the second – a self-driving car – what to do next.
“It is the mix of big companies — Apple, Google, the automakers and the data aggregators — that starts to create momentum. Two years ago, it was different. It was a promise. Today, it’s reality,” said Laurens Eckelboom, an executive with a smart-parking startup.
On the other hand, the advances could incur with huge costs for both the automakers and end users: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forecasts the companies will spend billions of dollars to implement safety features that would lead eventually to a total automation. These systems could actually become mandatory, as the US legislators mull their implementation by 2020, when most of the carmakers and tech companies involved in the autonomous “game” expect the first such vehicles to roll on the streets.