Innovations are shaping future transport systems to be connected, data-driven and highly automated. As a result, the concept of mobility is rapidly changing. Connectivity powered by technology is becoming a necessity. One of the key drivers for such changes is the communication system known as vehicle-to-everything (V2X). V2X technology is gaining momentum, and it’s only a matter of time before it reaches mainstream adoption. By 2023, global revenues from this market will reach $62.7 billion.
Clearly, V2X communication is bound to play a significant role in the future of automotive. In what ways will it change the world’s transportation experience?
How V2X Technology Works
V2X technology enables vehicles to actively communicate with any other entity in surrounding traffic systems. In other words, it allows cars to talk and listen. Major components of V2X include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P), and vehicle-to-network (V2N) communications.
In an ecosystem powered by V2X technology, each vehicle transmits messages with essential information about itself. The information includes heading, speed and location. Other details such as its size, acceleration and brake status are available as well.
Currently, two key communication standards are supporting V2X technology. The first one is Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC). It’s a variant of WiFi technology that allows low-latency messaging. It enables direct transmission between vehicles and to infrastructure. Being WLAN-based, DSRC uses underlying communication provided by 802.11p. The second one is Cellular V2X (C-V2X). LTE is the underlying technology. Aside from direct V2V and V2I communications, it also supports wide area connection over a cellular network. C-V2X technology relies on 4G LTE currently, but its transition to 5G is ongoing.
Transforming the Traffic Ecosystem Through V2X Communication
Most of today’s cars have Radar, liDAR, camera and other sensors. These are all limited to line of sight.
V2X technology can extend situational awareness to areas not visible to such sensors. Consequently, this expanded awareness leads to better predictive insights that can prevent accidents. In fact, research suggests that V2V communication will prevent 80 percent of traffic accidents in the United States.
“Advanced vehicle technologies may well prove to be the silver bullet in saving lives on our roadways,” says Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D., former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “V2V and automated vehicle technologies each hold great potential to make our roads safer, and when combined, their potential is untold.”
Moreover, traffic management systems can provide vehicles with safety alerts. Dynamic traffic signaling would be possible. Cars could also transmit messages to distracted pedestrians crossing streets. Additionally, they could receive real-time updates, custom navigation, and other cloud services from the network.
Notable Advantages of C-V2X Technology
V2X technology can improve efficiency and increase energy savings as well. It enables dynamic fleet management through V2V communication. For instance, when a vehicle enters the highway, it can join a platoon of cars. These cars follow each other with narrow gaps in between. The lead vehicle can control the speed of the platoon. This system can reduce fuel consumption and lessen traffic congestion.
Another notable benefit of V2X communication is it can elevate autonomous driving systems. While connectivity is not a prerequisite for driverless cars, it can improve several functionalities. Highly automated cars equipped with V2X technology can receive traffic updates faster, predict better routes and avoid more collisions. Likewise, V2X can work alongside other onboard safety systems and sensors to optimize performance. This ability, among others, makes V2X technology a key enabler for autonomous vehicles.
Advancing Mainstream Adoption of V2X Technology
Leading automakers continue to set deployment progress in motion. In April 2018, Toyota Motor Corporation announced the deployment of DSRC across its lineup in North America. Target roll-out date would be in 2021. Toyota was the first automaker to utilize and deploy DSRC in Japan back in 2015. In June 2018, General Motors Co. announced it would expand V2V capability to more models by 2023. GM began integrating DSRC on the Cadillac CTS in 2017. In Europe, Volkswagen plans to deploy the technology starting this year.
On the other hand, Ford Motor Company will adopt cellular-based V2X communication instead of DSRC. The automaker recently announced the integration of C-V2X technology in 2022. Don Butler, Ford’s Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services, believes that the advancement of applications is encouraging.
“C-V2X provides a reassuring path to technology advancements necessary to support emerging developments in autonomy, automated driving, and mobility,” he stated in a press release, “We are keen to investigate all aspects of this opportunity and support cross-industry efforts that make that possible.” Qualcomm Technologies Inc. has been helping Ford with testing and improvement of C-V2X technology.
Whether the underlying technology is DSRC or C-V2X, these recent developments are promising. More automakers are likely to follow suit in integrating V2X technology into more cars.
Paving the Way for Smart Mobility
The concept of smart mobility involves intelligent transport systems. These systems are efficient and sustainable. And they allow seamless connectivity. The connected car powered is one of the most essential elements in such systems. It’s one of the most visible applications of the Internet of Things technology. Likewise, it will be a vital part of more smart cities. Linked infrastructure and devices will be able to influence its behavior. This case is already happening in many places. Tampa, Florida, for example, is equipping its cars and buses with V2X technology.
Naturally, challenges still lie ahead. For the world to realize the technology’s full benefit, more vehicles need V2X systems. The greater the number of cars on the network, the more effective it will be. Drivers, passengers, regulators, and enforcement agencies will need to undergo a transition period.
Nevertheless, based on the pace of developments in this space, more concrete solutions are likely on the way. The goal will be to harness the full potential of V2X communication so that the world can enjoy safer, greener and more technologically-advanced roads in the next few years.