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What is Vehicle-to-Everything and How Will it Help?

By Special Guest
Mahbubul Alam, CTO and CMO of Movimento Group
May 05, 2016

Distracted driving accounts for 10 percent of all crash fatalities, killing 3,179 people in 2014 in the US. On our roads, there are 3,500 deaths a day or 150 every hour and nearly three people get killed on the road every minute. Faced with these tragic statistics, the auto industry is looking to the new world of technology to solve the problem - V2X is being hailed as a life saver.

Once it's deployed, the advantages of V2X are extensive, alerting drivers to road hazards, the approach of emergency vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists, changing lights, traffic jams and more. In fact, the advantages extend even beyond the freeways and into residential streets where V2X technology helps improve power consumption in times of severe weather and for safety.

In a previous article we discussed how vehicle to vehicle (V2V), vehicle to device (V2D) and vehicle to pedestrian (V2P) are being used to make life safer and easier. In this article we will talk about V2H, V2G, V2P) and how they will link cars to the world around them and make driving safer in the process.

Vehicle to Home (V2H) communication involves linkage between a vehicle and the owner's home, sharing the task of providing energy. During emergency or power outages, the vehicle’s battery can be used as a power source. Given the reality of severe weather and its effect on power supplies, this capability has been needed for a while, with disruptions in power after storms and other weather emergencies impacting many thousands of U.S. families annually.

During power outages, power from a vehicle’s battery can be used to run domestic appliances and power can be drawn from the vehicle when utility prices are high. In areas with frequent power outages, the battery can be used to buffer energy to avoid flickering and it can be used as an emergency survival kit.

It's expected that V2H will kick into higher gear in 2019, playing a significant role when the number of plug-in hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and Electric Vehicles (EVs) make up over 20% of the total new cars sold in the United States. But a few projects have been underway for awhile, such as a Nissan V2H solution that was already tested widely in Japan and launched in 2012 as the "Leaf to Home" V2H Power Supply System. Relying on an EV power station unit from Nichicon, this was one of the first backup power supply systems using an EV's large-capacity battery.

Other Japanese car manufacturers have dabbled in these systems, including Mitsubishi and Toyota. Mitsubishi announced in 2014 that its Outlander PHEV vehicle could be used to power homes -- only in Japan so far. There are other approaches to utilizing an EV's battery for home use, such as some currently available devices that can not only charge a battery but supply the stored electricity to the home. One example is the SEVD-VI cable from Sumitomo Electric.

Vehicle to Grid (V2G) communication is a system in which EVs communicate with the power grid to return electricity to the grid or throttle the vehicle’s charging rate. It will be an element in some EVs like plug-in models and is used as a power grid modulator to dynamically adjust energy demand.

A benefit of V2G is helping maintain the grid level and acting as a renewable power source alternative. This system could determine the best time to charge car batteries and enable energy flow in the opposite direction for shorter periods when the public grid is in need of power and the vehicle is not.

Given its key role in battery charging, this V2X technology is appearing soon -- in affordable EVs like the Tesla model 3, which can now be advance ordered. Other products and companies like Faraday Future, NextEV, Apple Car, Uber and Lyft are all planning to launch EVs between 2017 and 2020.

Other activity in the V2G area includes a partnership between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and BMW to test the ability of EV batteries to provide services to the grid. The automaker created a large energy storage unit made from re-utilized lithium-ion batteries while enlisting San Francisco Bay Area drivers of BMW 100 i3 cars to take part in what's called the ChargeForward program. A pilot study in this now-underway project is giving qualifying i3 drivers up to $1,540 in charging incentives.

Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communication will likely be the last V2X system to appear. It's the wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between vehicles and roadway infrastructure, like traffic lights. V2I alerts drivers of upcoming red lights and prevents traffic congestion. The system will streamline traffic and enable drivers to maneuver away from heavy traffic flow.

Despite the enormous impact this technology will have on driver safety, the degree of infrastructure investment required is so massive that it will take time to implement.

This approach might play a key role starting in 2020 and be rolling along by 2022. Nevertheless, there are promising V2I projects already happening in countries where it's easier to conduct massive public initiatives, such as China. A field test being run on public roads in Taicang, Jiangsu Province, China, involves buses that receive road condition data and thus can avoid stopping at lights when safe. This project was developed by Tongji University and Denso Corporation.

Communication is the next frontier of car technology and this is the bedrock of all the V2X capabilities appearing in the future. Having smarter, safer cars and communications systems for the drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who can be impacted by these vehicles could turn around this trend. Add to that the aspects of flexible electricity storage and usage, V2X becomes an even more promising technology.

About the author: Mahbubul Alam is CTO and CMO of Movimento Group. A frequent author, speaker and multiple patent holder in the area of the new software defined car and all things IoT. He was previously a strategist for Cisco’s Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) platforms. Read more from Mahbubul at http://mahbubulalam.com/blog/
 




Edited by Ken Briodagh


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