Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications for Trucks

The trucking industry is a critical component of American commerce. The American Trucking Association estimates that over 80 percent of U.S. communities depend exclusively on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities.

With more than 9 million registered large trucks on our nation’s highways, cars and trucks must share the roads safely. Industry stakeholders, including car and truck manufacturers, federal agencies (such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), and state departments of transportation, have worked hard to ensure compatibility between cars and trucks. Nevertheless, in 2009, approximately 10 percent of all fatal crashes involved a large truck—with most of those fatalities also involving a collision between a large truck and a passenger car.

Connected vehicle technology has the potential to improve the safety of our roads by transforming the way Americans travel. Through the creation of a safe, interoperable wireless communications network, cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles will be able to “talk” to each other with in-vehicle or aftermarket devices that continuously share important safety, mobility, and environmental information. Connected vehicles could also use wireless communication to “talk” to traffic signals, work zones, toll booths, school zones, and other types of infrastructure. These connected vehicles could alert drivers when a potential hazard arises, such as when another car is too close or in the driver’s blind spot—giving the driver time to react and avoid a potential accident.

Connected vehicles have the potential to make trucking safer, smarter, and greener.

Connected Vehicle Truck Safety

Wireless communications technology will enable significant improvements in truck safety. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that connected vehicle technology has the potential to address a substantial number of light vehicle crashes and heavy truck crashes by unimpaired drivers. Since safety is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT’s) top priority, the potential safety benefits of this technology cannot be ignored. However, more research is necessary to determine the actual effectiveness of the applications and to understand the best ways to communicate safety messages to motorists without causing unnecessary distraction.

Thus, the USDOT initiated the Integrated Truck Safety Program and the Commercial Vehicle Retrofit Safety Device Program to incorporate wireless dedicated short range communications (DSRC) technology into a commercial vehicle platform and to refine crash avoidance safety applications on commercial vehicles. These applications will be interoperable (e.g., capable of sharing messages) with other vehicle platforms, specifically light vehicles, so that trucks and light vehicles will be more aware of each other as they share our highways.

The Truck Safety Program will develop several trucking applications that use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications including:

  • Forward Collision Warning: Warns drivers if a vehicle ahead is stopped or traveling slower and there is a potential risk of collision
  • Blind Spot Warning/Lane Change Warning: Warns drivers when changing lanes if there is a car in their blind spot
  • Intersection Movement Assist: Warns drivers when it is not safe to enter an intersection due to high-collision probability with other vehicles
  • Electronic Emergency Brake Light: Notifies the driver if there is a sudden-braking vehicle ahead (or several vehicles ahead).

The program will also develop a limited number of vehicle-to-infrastructure safety applications such as curve-speed warning and other in-vehicle signage applications such as speed limit, construction zone, or low-clearance bridge height notifications.

Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot and Trucks

The Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot was a key test for how connected vehicle technology can enhance road safety as heavy trucks and light vehicles continue to share the roads. The Safety Pilot included two critical test efforts—driver clinics and a model deployment:

To learn more about the Dynamic Mobility Applications program, contact:

Katherine K. Hartman
Program Manager
ITS Joint Program Office
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
(202) 366-2742