More than a million people die each year as a result of traffic accidents, and as much emphasis governments place on drive sober campaigns and the improvement of roads and traffic signals, it has not been enough to prevent all the casualties that inevitably occur every year due to traffic problems. It is evident that innovations are shaping our future and, luckily, transportation is an area that is being deeply transformed by futuristic systems that are robustly connected, data-driven, and highly automated. The purpose of it all? To enhance driver safety and experience and advance autonomous driving.
Most cities still struggle with high traffic, obstacles on the road, road construction, and high rates of car crashes and fatalities. The need for an intelligent transportation ecosystem that optimizes driving, even under these conditions, has been acknowledged by several governments and top manufacturers, including BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, PSA, and Renault. Further, the US Department of Transportation is supporting the implementation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to solve the issues that afflict streets, communities, and personal lives. China is also accelerating the creation of smart cities that apply ITS, expecting 90% of their cities and highways to be equipped with this type of technology by 2022.
V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything or Vehicle-to-Anything) is a fundamental component of ITS, which enables mobility in an optimal and cost-effective way. It has emerged as the technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with virtually any object, allowing for more efficient transportation, platooning — a driving method where vehicles ride together, maintaining a specific distance between each other, accelerating and braking at the same time which decreases the risk of collisions and saves time, fuel and energy — improved mobility, less congestion, and reduced fuel consumption.
This solution is a new generation of radio communications technology that relies on a dedicated short-range 5.9 GHz frequency band. Thus, it allows connected vehicles to exchange messages that might include data such as positions, speeds, directions, and surrounding obstacles, extending the visibility of drivers and mitigating the risk of car accidents. The innovative system also permits data exchange regarding behaviors, accidents, weather conditions, and traffic within nearly a mile radius.
There are different communication forms, including:
- V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle communication)
- V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure communication)
- V2P (Vehicle to Pedestrian communication)
- V2G (Vehicle to Grid communication)
The wireless exchange of data about speed, location, and heading can prevent traffic accidents by predicting potential collisions. Some of the major applications are:
Connected vehicles receive real-time messages, alerting drivers in advance, of potential dangers and allowing for a quicker — and more effective — response.
In the event of a car accident, the system automatically calls first responders and sends them information on the exact crash location, incident time, and vehicle identification. Reducing the amount of time medical services take to assist can make a difference between life and death.
Communication among vehicles, traffic lights, and other infrastructure objects optimizes travel speed and provides drivers with better routes to take to avoid car accidents, traffic jams, or road construction.
Protecting the lives of drivers and pedestrians, enhancing mobility, and improving the flow of traffic in already overcrowded cities is crucial for the efficient functioning of an urban area. The connected infrastructure technology V2X, without a doubt, is gaining momentum as it offers enormous potential and concrete solutions to the mobility and safety issues experienced by cities today.