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Government Accountability Office, Intelligent Transportation Systems: Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technologies Expected to Offer Safety Benefits, but a Variety of Deployment Challenges Exist (GAO-14-13) (Nov. 1, 2013) (full-text).


The development of vehicle-to-vehicle technologies (V2V) has progressed to the point of real world testing, and if broadly deployed, they are anticipated to offer significant safety benefits. Efforts by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the automobile industry have focused on developing: 1) in-vehicle components such as hardware to facilitate communications among vehicles, 2) safety software applications to analyze data and identify potential collisions, 3) vehicle features that warn drivers, and 4) a national communications security system to ensure trust in the data transmitted among vehicles.

According to DOT, if widely deployed, V2V technologies could provide warnings to drivers in as much as 76% of potential multi-vehicle collisions involving at least one light vehicle, such as a passenger car. Ultimately, however, the level of benefits realized will depend on the extent of the deployment of these technologies and the effectiveness of V2V warnings in eliciting appropriate driver responses. The continued progress of V2V technology development hinges on a decision that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to make in late 2013 on how to proceed regarding these technologies. One option would be to pursue a rulemaking requiring their inclusion in new vehicles.

The GAO was asked to review the status of V2V technologies. The GAO examined (1) the state of development of V2V technologies and their anticipated benefits; (2) the challenges, if any, that will affect the deployment of these technologies and what actions, if any, DOT is taking to address them; and (3) what is known about the potential costs associated with these technologies.