National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Proposes Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Rules

March 8, 2017 by Blaine L. Dirker, Of Counsel
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Proposes Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Rules

While there are still a number of various impediments for advancing today’s connected cars into fully autonomous vehicles, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been at the forefront of resolving one of the major issues: vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication guidance.  Most recently, the NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS), No. 150, to mandate V2V communications for new light vehicles and to standardize the message and format of V2V transmissions.[1]  Ultimately, the NHTSA does not feel confident that the market will achieve such standardized communication language and protocols without such a mandate on V2V communication systems.

However, the NHTSA is hopeful that such a mandate will result in an information environment in which vehicle and device manufacturers alike can develop applications to improve safety applications employing V2V communications as input and enhance the environment in which autonomous vehicles operate.  The proposed rules additionally address other important concerns, including cybersecurity (e.g., firewall protections, over-the-air security and software update implementations), an effective date for manufacturers to implement the requirements (i.e., two model years after the final rule is adopted), and a pathway for vehicle compliance to meet certain performance and interoperability standards.

Further, the NHTSA posits that the logic employed by existing in-vehicle technologies (e.g., measured by on-board sensors) can be enriched by the information contained in such V2V communications.  In other words, vehicles can assist one another in their decision making process.  For example, the actions of one vehicle (e.g., braking, steering) having a direct influence on decisions being made by other vehicles could be used to generate more reliable predictions, resulting in fewer accidents and false positives.

Blaine Dirker is a member of Ice Miller’s Internet of Things Industry Group. Read Ice Miller’s State Leadership on Autonomous Vehicle Laws here.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.


[1] Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) Communications, 82 Fed. Reg. 3854 (proposed Jan. 12, 2017).



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