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SMART TRANSPORT FEATURE NEWS

Vehicle-to-Everything Technology Will Be a Life Saver

By Special Guest
Mahbubul Alam, CTO and CMO of Movimento Group
April 27, 2016

A massive consumer-focused industry like automobiles is up close and personal with people -- so up close that safety and driver protection from harm are top of mind for manufacturers. Although human error is the prevailing cause of collisions, creators of technologies used in vehicles have an obvious vested interest in helping lower the distressing statistics. After all, pedestrian deaths rose by 3.1 percent in 2014 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS). In that year, 726 cyclists and 4,884 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes. And this damage to innocent bystanders doesn't include the growing death rate of drivers and their passengers themselves.

Thus it's about time for increasingly sophisticated technology to step in and help protect distracted drivers from themselves. The centerpiece of what's coming is so-called Vehicle to Everything (V2X) technology. About the only problem with V2X is that it's emerging as a perplexing stew of acronyms (V2V, V2I, V2D, V2H, V2G, V2P) that require some explanation -- and the technology, while important, isn't universally quite here yet.

This is part one of a two part article series that explains what V2X means and predictions for when it will hit the roads, from the soonest to appear to the last.

Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication is a system that enables cars to talk to each other via Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC), with the primary goal being to communicate wirelessly about speed and position and to use power in the most productive manner in order to warn drivers to take immediate action to avoid a collision. Also termed car-to-car communication, the technology makes driving much safer by alerting one vehicle about the presence of others. How it works is that an embedded or aftermarket V2V module in the car allows vehicles to broadcast their position, speed, steering wheel position, brake status and other related data by DSRC to other vehicles in close proximity.

V2V is already making its way into new cars. For example, Toyota developed a communicating radar cruise control that uses V2V to make it easier for preceding and following vehicles to keep a safe distance apart. This is an element in a new “intelligent transportation system” that the company said was initially available at the end of 2015 on a few models in Japan. Meanwhile, 16 European vehicle manufacturers and related vendors launched the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium, which intends to speed time to market for V2V and V2I solutions and to ensure that products are interoperable. Plans call for “earliest possible” deployment.

One key issue with V2V is that to be most effective, it should reside in all cars on the road. Nevertheless, this technology has to start somewhere so Mercedes-Benz announced that its 2017 Mercedes E Class would be equipped with V2V, one of the first such solutions to go into production.

Vehicle to Device (V2D) communication is a system that links cars to many external receiving devices but will be particularly heralded by two-wheeled commuters. It enables cars to communicate via DSRC with the V2D device on the cycle, sending an alert of traffic ahead. Given the fact that biking to work is the fastest-growing mode of transportation, increasing 60 percent in the past decade, V2D can potentially help prevent accidents.

Although bicycle commuting is healthier than sitting in a car, issues like dark streets in the evening and heavy traffic flow make this mode problematic when it comes to accident potential.

V2D will likely appear as aftermarket products for bicycles, motorcycles and other such vehicles starting in 2018. Spurring the creation of V2D products have been quite a few crowd-funded efforts as well as government grants like the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Smart City Challenge that will pledge to the winner up to $40 million in funding for creating the nation's most tech-savvy transportation network in a municipality. Finalists (Denver, Austin, Columbus, Kansas City, Pittsburg, Portland, San Francisco) have already been chosen and they are busy producing proposals.

V2D is one of the application areas in DOT's IntelliDrive program, a joint public/private effort to enhance safety and provide traffic management and traveler information. The goal is the development of applications in which warnings are transmitted to various devices such as cell phones or traffic control devices.

Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) communication is a system that communicates between cars and pedestrians and will particularly benefit elderly persons, school kids and physically challenged persons. V2P establishes a communications mechanism between pedestrians’ smartphones and vehicles and acts as an advisory to avoid imminent collision.

The concept is simple: V2P will reduce road accidents by alerting pedestrians crossing the road of approaching vehicles and vise versa. It's expected to become a smartphone feature beginning in 2018 but like V2D, requires the presence of DSRC capabilities in vehicles. Ultimately, the DSRC version of V2P will be replaced by a higher-performance LTE version starting in 2020.

While there aren't any V2P solutions currently available, this area is a hotbed of development, particularly when one includes the full gamut of possible technologies and includes multiple vehicle types such as public transit. Given the significant role that V2P can play in preventing damage to humans, the U.S. Department of Transportation maintains and updates a database of technologies in process. Of the current 86 V2P technologies listed, none are yet commercially available but a number are currently undergoing field tests.

A particularly fruitful approach to developing effective V2P products is a research partnership between telecom and automotive companies. For example, Honda R&D Americas and Qualcomm collaborated on a DSRC system that sends warnings to both a car's heads-up display and a pedestrian's device screen when there is a chance of colliding. Although the project won an award as an outstanding transportation system, there's no word yet when this might appear commercially.

In the next article we will discuss Vehicle to Home (V2H), Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I)

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 Ciscos 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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