Reports are emerging recently that Apple and Google are scaling back their plans to self-driving cars. But this is in the wake of the fact that the government is getting closer to mandating that every new vehicle have vehicle-to-vehicle technology. Vehicle-to-vehicle technology refers to a short-range communications capability to share basic information such as speed from one car to another. This could allow vehicles to talk around intersections or blind corners essentially warning one another of potential obstacles and collisions that drivers may be unable to see with their own eyes.
The technology has the potential impact to minimize car accidents and although self-driving cars have also been argued as having the same benefit, the public is not quite ready to accept fully autonomous vehicles. Within three years, approximately 50% of new vehicles may be required to have vehicle-to-vehicle technology, and in about five years, all vehicles should have this capability inside. Up to 94% of vehicle accidents are the fault of drivers, according to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Google and Apple are pivoting from their plans to ramp up the construction of self-driving cars which is an enormous project in and of itself.
Ford has promised that it will have autonomous vehicles for ride-sharing purposes by 2021 but there is a better chance that more Americans will be driving with Fords outfitted with vehicle-to-vehicle technology first. At the same time, the Federal Highway Administration is looking at guidance that could help cars to communicate with existing static infrastructure including traffic lights. This technology would allow drivers to get warnings like that regarding an oncoming traffic light.