New York City buses and taxis will soon ‘talk’ to one another as part of a new project to cut road injuries and deaths in the Big Apple.
Around 8,000 vehicles will be fitted with special devices that can communicate with one another, as well as a system of roadside sensors and smartphone apps.
It is hoped the $25 million (£19 million) pilot programme will keep drivers and pedestrians safe by warning them of other vehicles, traffic lights and roadworks.
Drivers will always remain in control of the vehicle, but flashing warnings that appear on the dashboard device will improve awareness, cutting road deaths.
Around 214 people were killed in traffic accidents in the city last year, almost double that of London, despite both towns boasting populations of around eight million.
The new ‘connect car’ project is part of New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s drive to cut traffic fatalities, a campaign known as Vision Zero.
Devices will be fitted to 6,000 yellow cabs, more than 1,000 buses, 500 city and sanitation vehicles and 400 UPS delivery trucks.
Officials are also installing them into the city’s infrastructure, including sensors along 2 miles (3.2 km) of road in Midtown Manhatt
Connected vehicle devices use short-range signals similar to Wi-Fi to communicate with one another in real-time.
It will alert drivers if a car several vehicles ahead comes to a sudden stop, or if they are approaching a red light.
The devices also connect to smartphone apps, which can then send out warnings to nearby cars if someone is crossing a road.
City transportation officials say the technology, which has a range of 1,000 feet (300 metres), would cut many common causes of accidents.
About 70 vehicles are traversing the city using prototype equipment today.
City officials expect to finalise contracts to load the remaining vehicles in coming weeks.
Kaan Ozbay, a researcher at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, said that other connected technology pilots involved fewer vehicles.
‘This is probably the largest pilot test so far in the world,’ Mr Ozbay, who will analyse some of the city’s connected car data, told the Wall Street Journal.
New York City is attempting to cut its traffic road accidents, with 214 people killed in collisions in 2017.