TODAY | August 21, 2012
>> if cars could talk to each other and prevent crashes? it may sound like science fiction but the technology is already here. the government is now launching a new year long pilot project to test it. nbc's tom costello got a sneak peek. tom, good morning to you.
>> reporter: good morning, matt. we're talking about alarms, about warning lights, about even buzzers in your seat to warn you of a daernnger. if there's a danger on your right-hand side you get a warning or your right cheek. a lot of us have controls that keep us away of the car ahead of us. as we saw on the test track , this takes safety to a whole new level. what if there were a way to warn you that another driver was about to blow right through an intersection or warn you of a crash ahead or ice on the road. now researchers at the university of michigan , dot and eight car manufactures launching a program involving nearly 3,000 vehicles testing the latest crash victims. we got the car actually broadside us.
>> i have led, seat is rumbling.
>> reporter: it's called vehicle to vehicle communication. here is how it works. each car, truck or bus on the road would constantly transmit a 360 degree status report via a light system to every other car on the road constantly updating its position, its speed, whether it's turning or braking. if a car is in your mind spot, you get a flashing light in the side mirror . if you signal you want to turn alarms go off and the seat even vibrates to warn you of danger.
>> i feel this rumble, really catches you're attention, the rumble of the seat.
>> yes, to let you know there's somebody in the right lane.
>> reporter: the system can even determine if a car isn't yet in your blind spot but approaching too quickly to change lanes.
>> they are all transmitting the exact same message, position, vehicle speed, acceleration.
>> reporter: watch again what happens when i pull up to an intersection where i have the green light but an oncoming car blows through the red.
>> if i hadn't hit the brakes, he would have t boned me.
>> yes. this is one of the most fatal crashes.
>> reporter: if the technology works on a grand scale the government could require it in all cars.
>> our number one goal is safety. trying to prevent crashes, trying to prevent injuries, trying to prevent death.
>> the system can warn you if the car ahead has braked hard trying to avoid a pileup even if the road ahead is wet or icy.
>> this is the information of the technology. information technology has the potential to prevent crashes in the first place and that's what we want to do.
>> reporter: one big challenge here is for the technology to be an aid to drivers and not a nuisance. that's something they are going to have wo work the kinks out on in ann arbor . matt, you and i could see this in our cars.
>> sounds linebacker a great idea. thanks very much for the