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New technology could warn drivers of future collision

Anyone who has ever been in a serious car accident knows how scary the seconds leading up to the crash can be. Many times, car accident victims know a crash is imminent seconds before it happens, but there is not enough time to stop it.

New technology is being developed to change that.

At a press conference this week, federal transportation officials discussed the technology, which they said has "game-changing potential" to reduce serious car accidents by as much as 80 percent.

Essentially, the technology uses radio waves to allow vehicles within a certain radius to "talk" to one another. The "talking" would consist of continuous readings on a vehicle's position, and if it appeared that a collision was about to occur, the vehicles' computers would alert the drivers while there is still time to avoid it.

Because the technology would reach around 300 yards, it also has potential to warn drivers when another vehicle was likely to run a red light or when a car several yards ahead slammed on its breaks in traffic.

At this week's press conference, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the technology is part of a new approach to automotive safety which focuses on preventing crashes instead of making crashes survivable.

The officials said they plan to require auto makers to install the technology in all new vehicles at some point in the next few years. Auto makers have expressed excitement over the technology, but have also expressed concerns over security and privacy issues that could potentially arise.

At the press conference, the feds assured that the data being transferred by the technology would only include basic safety information and would not identify drivers. 

Source: Associated Press, "Car-to-car talk: Hey, look out for that collision!" Joan Lowy, Feb. 4, 2014

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