Feds to decide on car-to-car communications

WASHINGTON - Federal officials are planning to announce whether automakers should be required to equip new cars and light trucks with technology that enables vehicles to communicate with each other to prevent collisions. Such vehicle-to-vehicle communication promises to transform traffic safety.

The Department of Transportation has scheduled the announcement for midday Monday. Transportation officials estimate the technology could prevent up to 80 percent of accidents that don't involve drunken drivers or mechanical failure.

A transponder would continually transmit the vehicle's position, heading, speed and other information 10 times per second in all directions using dedicated radio spectrum similar to Wi-Fi. Cars would receive the same information back from other vehicles. A vehicle's computer would alert the driver to an impending collision. Some systems could automatically brake to avoid an accident.

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