In 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced plans to implement vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications on all new cars. This bold idea was meant to allow vehicles to communicate with one another about road conditions, traffic volume, alternative routes, accidents and emergencies along the route, and other data. This year, the Trump administration has effectively killed the initiative.
V2V and the DOT
V2V was part of the Obama administration’s initiative to improve vehicle safety with the use of new technology. Anthony Foxx, the then-Transportation Secretary, said that the project aim was to improve autonomous driving technology. Providing 360-degree “situational awareness” of road conditions, V2V would also improve vehicle safety even for conventional non-autonomously driven vehicles.
According to Donny Nordlicht, Cadillac spokesperson, the company supports sharing the 5.9 GHz spectrum used by V2V, as long as there is no negative interference with life-saving DSRC technology.
In a recent statement, the DOT said that no final decision has been made about the rule-making for V2V. The department has not moved forward in creating a mandate requiring new vehicles equipped with short-range communications devices, allowing data sharing between vehicles. The DOT still wants to use a dedicated transportation life-saving technology radio spectrum. The department is reviewing comments regarding the proposal, as V2V is an integral part of the plan. In recent years, there is a clear indication of the need for V2V due to the increase in vehicle crashes and traffic fatalities comparable to levels in the 1960s.
Communications is the Key
V2V revolves around communications and data-sharing, and uses the Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) IEEE 802.11p wireless standard. These are highly secure transmissions running on short- to medium-range communication channels. These enable vehicles to communicate with one another for short stretches of time. DSRC allows vehicles to exchange basic information describing speed, position, direction, acceleration, vehicle size, and braking status. These pieces of information are sent 10 times per second from one vehicle to another, interpreted, and then any warnings are forwarded to drivers.
Vehicle manufacturers are free to add V2V technology to their cars. However, there is still no clear standard or guideline on usage. Mercedes-Benz started installing V2V technology in its cars in 2016, specifically the E-Class. V2V is also included in the 2018 model S-class this year. Early this year, General Motors has also included V2V on the Cadillac CTS. According to Donny Nordlicht, Cadillac spokesperson, the company supports sharing the 5.9 GHz spectrum used by V2V, as long as there is no negative interference with life-saving DSRC technology. Although they are rolling out V2V in their cars, Mercedes-Benz USA’s Communications Manager Christian Bokich said their company is monitoring the developments on the V2V mandate. The German company is a noted leader in accident-free driving and safety, and plans to continue to introduce innovative new technologies for vehicles. Part of their plans includes possible 5G internet integration.
V2V, as a technology, still requires testing on a much wider scale. IBM, in partnership with the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, has demonstrated how connected cars share and use information regarding speed, acceleration, braking, and location. Traffic authorities can analyze the information to identify possible road issues and resolve these to improve road safety and convenience.