How Will Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Drive The Future Of Car Technology?

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Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Systems

As we race toward fully autonomous vehicles, we are beginning to understand that the only expensive car on the road is the one that can communicate with other cars and objects it’s surrounding like traditional traffic cones.

This technological movement will bring automobile manufacturers together with telecom companies to have individual vehicles communicating with each other in a continuous manner.

Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) communications is a system designed to transmit information between vehicles and other objects on the road in real-time. This information provides warnings to drivers and other vehicles.

Instead of cars working independently, vehicles will be able to transmit vital information to nearby vehicles to improve the overall efficiency and safety of the roadways.

The ultimate goal of Vehicle-To-Vehicle communication technology is to help prevent automobile crashes before they occur.

The idea is that, if collision avoidance systems can work between vehicles, then every car on the road will be safer by avoiding accidents before they can ever happen.

This type of technology will allow the Department of Transportation to achieve their goal of zero automobile deaths within the next decades.

Benefits Of Connected Vehicle Technology

Connected vehicle technology leverages advancements in wireless technologies to communicate with vehicles, infrastructure, and other portable devices. As communication technology continues to advance, auto manufacturers must remain focused on safety.

  • Reduced operational and ownership costs.
  • Increased mobility for shuttle buses and new demographics of drivers.
  • Higher efficiency for roadways and parking capacity.

While there are many additional benefits of combining vehicle connection and automation, the real mission of this advancement is to eliminate all car crashes.

The advantage of safer, more reliable, predictable and faster technologies is to make life-saving and community-enhancing advancements throughout the United States.

Just like the evolution of smartphones, music streaming, and other online services, the continued innovation of autonomous vehicles will depend on effective communication between vehicles and other road structures.

Among the most important applications of the cross-vehicle communication includes:

  1. Real-time traffic information.
  2. Personalized roadside assistance.
  3. Automobiles to monitor and adjust position on highways.
  4. Alert drivers if they are drifting out of their lane.
  5. Slowing down if they get too close to the car around them.

The only way to achieve the form and function for the level of innovation requires connectivity among the inside and outside of the vehicles. Without vehicle connectivity, we will not see the full dream of self-driving cars on our public roads.

Partnerships Make Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Possible

Big companies like Tesla, Google, and Toyota are working to optimize the necessary technology and infrastructure to support the goal to improve safety and remove human drivers from the steering wheel.

It has been estimated that intelligent vehicle technology will be a $35 billion in the U.S. within the coming decades.

The only way to achieve this dream is to shift to software-based networks and a complex ecosystem that involves vehicles communicating with each other on a regular basis.

Essentially, connected cars can “talk” to each other through various technologies to help eliminate the need for human drivers. This technology will have to work within the limitations set by state regulators and other relevant laws

Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines intelligence transportation systems as the use of advanced information, data, and communication technology through onboard vehicle sensors. The information will enhance safety and mobility while also reducing the environmental impact of public transportation.

The future of transportation technology is not just in the movies because we see the first examples of futuristic travel options today.

Wireless devices have already been developed to communicate between vehicles and contiguous infrastructure in the dynamic driving environments.

The advancements in technology have provided us with the ability to integrate data for the connection of autonomous vehicle operations. A few of the most recent wireless technologies that allow autonomous vehicles to remain connected include:

Global Positioning Systems (GPS)

Satellite-based global systems combine location and time references of objects for accurate and constant position tracking. Usually, this technology is used to help users move between defined destinations.

Inertial Navigation System

This technology monitors and calculates positioning, direction, and speed of a vehicle with onboard sensors.

Laser Illuminated Detection And Ranging (LIDAR)

On-board laser detection systems will help a car understand surrounding objects, terrain, and the environment. Precision measurements of distance to objects rely on accurate data to determine the speed and relative orientation to its environment. Onboard lasers systems are also interacting with sensors embedded into traditional traffic equipment like traffic cones and other roadway safety signs. 

These advanced systems provide decision-making data points that allow autonomous vehicles to coordinate their movement and position in relationship to other objects. Onboard technology must communicate with other vehicles for our dream of autonomous vehicles to come right.

Security Risks From Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication

The future of our public roads and the development of tomorrow’s cars rely heavily on V2V communication systems. These systems will allow vehicles to interact with each other, essentially allowing each vehicle to act as part of an integrated group.

However, while connectivity introduces incredible opportunities for safety and communication, it also creates a potential security threat.

V2V systems will require robust security to ensure their communication is not disrupted or tampered with. The severity of a security breach in a system of moving vehicles could be equal to that of a power grid or other large utility system.

Not only will the communication systems be complicated on each vehicle, but that system would also need to scale to over 350 million users.

We can look to other similar communication frameworks when it comes to scale and security. Financial institutions utilize different networks to complete online transactions. However, the one difference with V2V communication systems is privacy.

The V2V communication system will need to separate some of the functionality to ensure that no one entity can match different records to identify an individual driver or car.

Since the system relies on individualized information to communicate with the group, the system must allow for each vehicle to transmit information unique to itself.

However, the privacy of the driver must also be protected so the system must add a layer or obscurity to protect the identity of the driver.

Creating A Standard Communication System And Security Framework

While many industry experts disagree on the potential risk and impact V2V communication could have on our roads, the government has already shown that it is concerned about the future of this technology.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a safety standard report to direct automakers and technology companies on how safety standards should look for V2V communication.

Furthermore, the Department Of Transportation (DOT) released it’s own research plan outlining its primary objectives for a V2V communication safety program.

Both the NHTSA and DOT are working to direct the future of security standards because they don’t trust that the free market and private companies will work in the best interest of the public if left to their own devices.

The agencies also worry that companies could build proprietary systems that don’t communicate with other vehicle makes and models.

These closed systems would necessarily minimize the benefits of V2V technology and could lead to market failure without the creation of a mandate to induce collaborative action.

A Clear Call Forward

No matter what the future holds for autonomous cars, all cars will one day be connected just like our laptops and cell phones are today. Instead of acting independently, future cars will work together to make our public roads safer and more efficient. 

However, the future of our V2V communication systems hold many unknowns. We will need to work hard to ensure that our communication frameworks are secure and preserve the privacy of individual drivers. The future of smart cars is bright, but we need to work with our local government to ensure that the future of V2V networks work on behalf of us, the users. 

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Author: Chris Giarratana

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant in Orlando, FL who specializes in developing marketing strategies for small businesses, researching emerging technologies, and enjoys studying transportation issues.

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