The acronym industry has been busy. V2X identifies the Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) components of established various road safety applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and dedicated short-range wireless communications (DSRC).
ADAS uses the adaptive cruise control to warn drivers of a potential collision and can automatically apply the car's brakes. DSRC provides communications between a vehicle and the roadside in specific locations, such as toll plazas.
What V2X does is bring them together, enabling location awareness via GPS and situation awareness via dialog between vehicles enabled by DSRC. As a result, V2X boosts the functionality and enables the creation of a new, holistic business model. It’s a great example of the way M2M is creating solutions that address intrinsic issues in our society – in this case deaths and serious injuries caused by traffic accidents and time-wasting holdups that further increase air pollution.
The business case for this development is overwhelming: In the U.S., there were over 32K fatalities in 2011.
Autonomous Cruise Control, shown above, employs radar or laser sensors to sense the position of the vehicle in front, and if necessary reduces the speed. Separate sensors can also be used to detect vehicles in adjacent lanes.
However, V2X creates an awareness zone around the driver’s vehicle; think of it as a wireless LAN. This is realized by a combination of GPS and short-range wireless communications.
The new business model
In addition to providing awareness of the distance from the vehicle in front and the traffic in adjacent lanes, the position and speed of emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines can be communicated to the surrounding vehicles as well as the roadside infrastructure.
This information can be used, for example, to change the traffic lights at intersections when an emergency vehicle is approaching.
In addition, vehicles can share information about their current traffic situation and use it to optimize their routes. Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) awareness can be enabled when portable devices are carried or worn as well.
V2P is a key application in Japan where one in three accidents involves a pedestrian.
The use of M2M technology will allow solutions to incorporate additional applications, for example: curve speed advisory; construction zone and lane closure warnings; motorcycle approach indication and parking facilities.
That said, realizing all these commendable objectives will take time, and will arrive in stages – like deploying V2V solutions before V2I – and significant benefits can be obtained by standalone devices. Embedded in-vehicle systems, connected to the vehicle’s bus, are the optimal platform, but there are cost and interoperability issues.
Standalone devices like smartphones will create awareness and pave the way for widespread V2X penetration.
Impetus can also be generated via discounts on insurance policies.
The issues are not insignificant, nevertheless various trials are underway and Europe appears to be in pole position. V2X is being researched by the German and French governments as well as the European Commission, mainly because of the environmental and safety benefits.
We are unlikely to see deployment of embedded systems until 2015, and they’ll be in upmarket cars like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. V2X will therefore be a competitive differentiator and we can expect it to be an option on cars in the middle of the price range.
And as indicated earlier, standalone devices that can be retrofitted would enable earlier usage of V2X’s key features and that would kick start awareness of the many benefits.
Edited by Braden Becker