Wheels (Australia) - - Redlind - DANIEL GARD­NER

What is it?

An evo­lu­tion of ve­hi­cle-to-ve­hi­cle (V2V) wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion that en­ables cars to share in­for­ma­tion with build­ings, road signs, and traf­fic sig­nals, as well as other ve­hi­cles.

How does it work?

Par­tic­i­pat­ing ve­hi­cles are equipped with a ded­i­cated wire­less lo­cal area net­work (WLAN) ra­dio trans­mit­ter which uses a stan­dard­ised lan­guage to talk to other ve­hi­cles and in­fra­struc­ture within a cer­tain range, re­gard­less of the man­u­fac­turer.

If there is no con­nected in­fra­struc­ture, ve­hi­cles can still com­mu­ni­cate with one an­other to con­vey im­por­tant mes­sages such as if a ve­hi­cle ahead has per­formed an emer­gency stop, for ex­am­ple.

When in range of V2X in­fra­struc­ture how­ever, the ve­hi­cles ben­e­fit from a larger net­work of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ex­tra in­for­ma­tion. A traf­fic light might in­form ve­hi­cles when the next red light is due al­low­ing the car to safely ap­proach a sig­nal with­out jump­ing the red or hav­ing to brake ag­gres­sively.

Multi-pur­pose traf­fic man­age­ment signs can re­lay con­ven­tional in­for­ma­tion to road users and also dou­ble as mes­sage re­lays, no­ti­fy­ing cars in the area of an ap­proach­ing emer­gency ser­vice ve­hi­cle, as an­other ex­am­ple.

Even though an in­di­vid­ual ve­hi­cle or item of road fur­ni­ture has a lim­ited range of broad­cast, in­for­ma­tion can be trans­mit­ted larger dis­tances by re­lay­ing across the net­work of con­nected de­vices, where nec­es­sary. The larger the net­work, the bet­ter it works and, the­o­ret­i­cally, a ve­hi­cle could be warned of a prob­lem any­where in the world.

Why does it mat­ter?

A func­tion­ing V2X net­work is one crit­i­cal el­e­ment in the in­fra­struc­ture re­quired to sup­port high-level au­ton­o­mous driv­ing. With­out it, self-driv­ing cars must rely on rel­a­tively lim­ited in­for­ma­tion from their own sen­sors, but a ve­hi­cle-to-x net­work al­lows a car’s aware­ness of its sur­round­ings to be ex­tended with al­most un­lim­ited scope.

Ahead of the ar­rival of au­ton­o­mous cars, V2X sys­tems will start to im­prove the safety of road users by pro­vid­ing the driver with sup­ple­men­tary in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing warn­ings of heavy traf­fic, haz­ards, and weather up­dates, be­fore en­coun­ter­ing them. Whether it’s the car or the driver that re­sponds to the ex­tra in­for­ma­tion, es­tab­lished V2X com­mu­ni­ca­tion has the po­ten­tial to re­duce traf­fic col­li­sions, con­ges­tion, jour­ney times, and fuel con­sump­tion.

A V2X net­work is also the tech­nol­ogy re­quired to al­low ve­hi­cles to ‘pla­toon’ – a con­voy that main­tains a con­stant speed and safe gap when us­ing free­ways.

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