Car Talk

The Transportation Department has launched a challenge to find ways for using wireless connectivity that would allow vehicles to talk with each other and make America's roads safer.

DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration arm is soliciting ideas for products or applications that use dedicated short range communication, which is similar to WiFi but faster and more secure.

According to a news release, DSRC would allow one vehicle to send another a basic message in a fraction of a second, with minimal interference and without manipulation by the driver. Messages could include alerts about imminent crash situations or roadway hazards.

The challenge will run through May 1. Specifically, Transportation is seeking descriptions of "novel, implementable ideas for products or approaches that utilize DSRC to offer benefits to travelers or society at large." Winners will receive funding to present their entries.

"This technology is an opportunity to help create a future where millions of vehicles communicate with each other by sharing anonymous real-time information about traffic speeds and conditions," RITA Administrator Peter Appel said. "This new world of wireless communication will make transportation safer, provide better and faster exchange of information for vastly improved daily and long-distance travel, and even reduce environmental pollution."