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Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

Also propelling automakers’ interest in digital technology are upcoming tests of wireless communication between cars themselves. Starting next August, Ford and other automakers will take part in a yearlong field trial of vehicle-to-vehicle communication. The study, undertaken in conjunction with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Transportation, will track 3,000 cars able to broadcast their position, speed of travel, and direction to other vehicles over a Wi-Fi network.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication—known as “V2V” in the industry—is eagerly anticipated because it could help reduce crashes. The Wi-Fi signals, which go out in all directions, would act like an alert passenger, warning the driver that another car is about to run a red light or that there’s a motorcycle in the blind spot. U.S. government researchers estimate that V2V would let drivers avoid or make less serious around 80 percent of collisions. Depending on the results of  studies like the upcoming field trial, the government could start developing rules next year that would require all cars to have V2V systems, just as it previously mandated seat belts and front-seat airbags.

Prasad says V2V technology is currently “about safety.” But he predicts major changes as networking unlocks the computing power already present in most cars. Many recent models have 60 or more electronic control units that manage the transmission, antilock brakes, and other features. Until now, all those processors have been isolated. “The first billion vehicles in this world are like [un-networked] desktops—each doing their own little thing,” says Prasad. “The next billion cars should talk to each other and share intelligence. Think of how the World Wide Web changed the world. The automotive sector is ripe for a similar change.”

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Credits: Ford

Tagged: Business, Business Impact, business

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