Vehicle to Vehicle Communication
Vehicle to Vehicle Communication (V2V) is an upcoming technology under development by automotive giants such as Toyota and Tesla, as well as numerous startups. It promises to make human driving safer and become an enabler for autonomous driving by connecting vehicles and road infrastructure via ad hoc networks.
V2V systems, once fully deployed, could reduce accidents caused by human error by up to 70-80%, and can have a massive impact on congestion and carbon emissions. However, there are technical, security and regulatory concerns standing in the way of this important innovation.
In this page:
- What is vehicle to vehicle communication
- How vehicle to vehicle communication works
- Benefits of vehicle to vehicle communication
- Limitations of vehicle to vehicle communication
- The future of vehicle to vehicle systems
Vehicle to vehicle communication helps vehicles form spontaneous wireless networks on the go and transfer data over an ad-hoc mesh network. Each vehicle sends reports about traffic and road conditions, vehicle position and speed, route direction, and loss of stability and brakes if these occur.
The information is added to the network and serves as a safety warning for the other vehicles. Very much like traffic radio stations provide information for people. Individual cars use the information from the network to create a dynamic view of their surroundings. A complete overview enables the car can send danger alerts and encourage actions that prevent accidents and reduce traffic congestion.
Vehicle to vehicle communication combines two types of vehicular communication systems, called vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I). Together, the systems form an interactive routing map.
Vehicle to vehicle communication is made possible due to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices like GPS receivers, which let vehicles communicate their location through the V2V system, and road sensors, which send data about road conditions through the V2I system. DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) connect the two systems and ensure each vehicle receives all the information it needs for safe navigation.
Main Components of V2V Systems:
- Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC): Wireless communication channels that work in the 5.9GHz band with a bandwidth of 75MHz, designed for short-range use of about 1000m. The DSCR enables real-time communication between the vehicle to vehicle system and the vehicle to infrastructure system. When the V2V system communicates, it may say, “Firefighter approaching.” While the V2I system warns, “Car on fire, 10 feet, road blocked.”
- GPS Receiver: Provides the vehicle with real-time location information, which helps vehicles navigate around objects and vehicles on the road.
- Inertial Navigation System: Acts as the vehicle’s orientation system, helping each car navigate safely around cars and objects. The inertial navigation system monitors and estimates positioning, speed, and direction of vehicles with onboard sensors.
- Laser Illuminated Detection And Ranging (LiDAR): A laser detection system that Creates 3D maps and heat images of the vehicle’s surroundings. LiDAR calculates the exact distance between objects by measuring the speed of light as it bounces from vehicle to object and vice versa. It helps the vehicle orient with the objects around it and interact with infrastructure sensors.
- Prevents crashes: Car accidents kill around 33,000 people worldwide annually, and the numbers keep rising every year. Safety has become a major concern, and despite efforts to raise awareness and educate on safe driving, the main cause of car accidents remain human error. Vehicle to vehicle communication technology can help mitigate anywhere up to 70% to 80% of vehicle crashes involving human error.
- Improves traffic management and reduces congestion: Law enforcement officials can use vehicle to vehicle communication to monitor and manage traffic by using real-time data streaming from vehicles to reduce congestion. V2V communication can help officials re-route traffic, track vehicle locations, adapt traffic light schedules, and address speed limits. Drivers using V2V communication can avoid traffic jams and maintain a safe distance from other cars.
- Improves fuel efficiency via truck platooning: Vehicle to vehicle communication enables fleets of trucks to drive in close formation. The truck in the front acts as the leader of the pack, after which all trucks follow. The trucks in the platoon remain in constant formation and adjust their speed and location based on a constant stream of communication. Tests have found that truck platooning can save fuel consumption of up to 5 percent for the lead truck and up to 10 percent for the following trucks.
- Optimizes routes: Once vehicle to vehicle communication technology is fully adopted commercially, every vehicle on the road will benefit from better navigation. Open channel communication between all vehicles will provide precise location, speed, and positioning information that will help each vehicle optimize routes in real time.
Multiple factors hinder the adoption of vehicle to vehicle communication. Commercial integration of the technology presents challenges in global, public, and private sectors, from security issues to protocol standards, to the concern that the frequency band allocated for the system can’t support a large number of vehicles.
- Security risks: Can you imagine enjoying a smooth ride and then, suddenly, you lose control to someone else? The doors lock, the wheel sends you on a spin, the car engine revs up and passes the speed limit. Vehicles with DSRC may be vulnerable to cyber attacks. The consequences of a security breach in V2V-enabled cars could be catastrophic, with multiple cars exposed to terrorist attacks. V2V communication systems will require comprehensive security measures in order to be fully integrated.
- Privacy issues: The V2V network collects and stores private information about the drivers. Since there are no regulations at the moment, the government and private companies have the ability to track vehicles and monitor driving habits. Anyone with access to Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR) will be able to track and collect data about cars with vehicle to vehicle communication. If the data is hacked, it can lead to identity theft and other security concerns.
- Liability Concerns: Since V2V technologies are still new and there aren’t clear laws and regulations, incidents involving V2V vehicles may result in liability concerns. What if the instructions given by the V2V communication system lead to an accident? You were only following the system’s instructions when you crashed into the back of a car. Whose fault is it—yours or the system vendor’s?
- Potentially Distracting Drivers: At the moment, vehicle to vehicle communication systems need human intervention to work. The driver needs to perform tasks similar to texting or talking on the phone to operate the V2V communication system. The communication process is still in the works, as it will need to be less distracting to the driver or it may end up being a new cause of traffic accidents.
- Expensive: The cost of installing V2V communication systems in the vehicles depends on the system complexity and vehicle model and can range from $2,000 to $20,000.
Currently, vehicle to vehicle communication systems are only able to send warnings to drivers. While the technology is still at an early stage of development, the next generation of vehicle to vehicle systems are being designed with autonomous driving in mind—with capabilities that will give the system the power to take control of a vehicle in danger and take action to prevent disaster.
V2V systems have the potential to save lives and improve driving efficiency, generating massive improvements in global productivity. They can have an impact on communities and cities by reducing congestion, and contribute directly to the reduction of carbon emissions in urban centers.