GAO Report Cites Obstacles To Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technologies

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Nov. 4 --Hurdles to the development and deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle technologies were spelled out in a Nov. 1 Government Accountability Office report addressed to five members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The potential problems include the design of a security system, the feasibility of currently unlicensed users sharing the same band of the radio-frequency spectrum, and driver response and acceptance.

The GAO also captured automakers' and others' liability-related concerns. The concerns are provoked by unanswered questions in the areas of determination of fault, determination of data ownership, technologies subject to input or interference from other parties and integration of aftermarket devices.

“Automobile manufacturers may be reluctant to move forward with plans to install V2V technologies in their newly manufactured vehicles because of the uncertainty that accompanies these liability issues,” the report said.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has previously stated it does not see V2V technologies posing a greater liability risk to automakers than existing crash avoidance technologies. That position was restated in the GAO's report.

The report was addressed to Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), committee chairman; Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), ranking member; and John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.). According to the report, the lawmakers directed the GAO to review the state of development of V2V technologies, challenges to deployment, steps the Department of Transportation is taking to address these challenges, and potential costs for automakers and consumers.

The GAO report precedes a highly anticipated announcement from NHTSA as to its next steps surrounding V2V technologies. The next steps could be rulemaking or an announcement that additional research is needed.

Despite the government shutdown, “at this point, NHTSA still expects to make a decision on V2V technology by the end of the year,” NHTSA told Bloomberg BNA in a Nov. 4 e-mail.