President Obama Praises Advancements Made in Vehicle Communication Technology

Jul 16, 2014 01:30 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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President Barack Obama praised advances in vehicle-to-vehicle technology that would allow cars to communicate with each other in a speech on July 15.

At the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Obama checked out a system that allows vehicles to talk with one another in other to prevent crashes, while also easing traffic flow.

"New technology that makes driving safer is important to me," Obama said, mentioning that his daughter Malia just turned 16. "One study shows that Americans spend 5.5 billion hours stuck in traffic each year, which costs us $120 billion in wasted time and gas, that's 800 bucks per commuter."

Though the president hasn't driven a car in six years, Obama said during the speech that he sampled some of the latest automotive technology in a simulator at the center, which is a part of the Federal Highway Administration.

The FHA focuses on developing and implementing innovations in road transportation.

"I just got a tour of a lab where automakers and government researchers team up to create new technologies that help cars communicate with the world around them and with each other," Obama said. "They can tell you if an oncoming vehicle is about to run a red light, or if a car is coming around a blind corner, or if a detour would help you save time and gas.

"And I got to test all this in a simulator.  It was sort of like Knight Rider," the president added.

A number of automaker are looking into "talking" vehicles, including Toyota and Ford.

Toyota is studying communication between vehicles and pedestrians as well. Meanwhile, Ford is looking into communications between space robots and Earth, in order to "enhance future applications of the connected car communications protocol."

Vehicle-to-vehicle technology has been backed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal agencies.

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