No bikes in this future?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, recently issued an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” on “vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.” Which means they are considering requiring a transponder be added to transmit your vehicles data. In this age of American bureaucracy that means it is all but a done deal.

This document initiates rulemaking that would propose to create a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, No. 150, to require V2V communications for light vehicles. In this effort light vehicles are cars and small trucks (pickups).

V2V communications would contain the “relevant elements and describe them accurately (e.g., vehicle speed; GPS position; vehicle heading”.

These future rules would create a uniform V2V system built into all vehicles that will give automobile manufacturers the opportunity to equip their products with standard warning systems that alert drivers to potential accidents — such as one that might be caused by cross traffic at a blind intersection or a light changing color.

Now that all sounds good but tie that with the following….

The agency has published a “Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles.” This statement describes V2V as part of a “continuum” leading to fully automated vehicles. “Accordingly, three distinct but related streams of technological change and development are occurring simultaneously:

 (1) in-vehicle crash avoidance systems that provide warnings and/or limited automated control of safety functions

Let go of the bars and take a nap!

Let go of the bars and take a nap!

(2) V2V communications that support various crash avoidance applications

(3) self-driving vehicles,” NHTSA finds that it is helpful to think of these emerging technologies as part of a continuum of vehicle control automation”.

Soooo how does this make the future of motorcycling dim? I am not sure where bikes fit in this brave new, safer, reduce health care cost, world.

Suppose that separate lanes may be established early in this effort to allow these V2V vehicles to operate. If you don’t have a transponder then you are not allowed on these roads.

Then as the technology matures it may be required to merge onto major highways to “ensure your safety”. If your bike does not have the tech to merge you into the traffic you are not allowed on the road.

After a little more time all interstates and major urban areas would be “wired” to supported automated vehicles, no transponder no access.

I maybe a cynic but I can see a future where bikes would not be allowed on major interstates because they cannot be made part of the herd. That “for the safety of everyone” only smart vehicles will be allowed on major roads and in cities.

Would you want to ride a robo-bike when you could stretch out and nap in a robo-car?


….. and why would anyone want/desire to ride a motorcycle that would be limited to riding with the herd anyway.

  1. Bodhi Rana says:

    I’m reminded of the scene in I, Robot…where Will Smith turns off the herd device in his car and his passenger asks him if he’s crazy. Yeah, I am not sure of which I’m more leery of; riding around people that are paying more attention to their phones or riding around computer controlled cars.

    • I thought of that scene as well as the one in Demolition Man with the automated car. I just don’t think we will be given the choice to ride around computer controlled cars….bike will be removed as unsafe. 😦

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