Why it Matters: V2V Communication
Guest Post by Elisabeth Campbell
Vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication is a communication system between vehicles for increasing driver safety by reducing collisions. It is not communication between drivers, rather it is communication between the vehicles themselves. When there is potential danger between two vehicles, the vehicles alert their drivers of the upcoming hazard.
For instance, if a driver brakes in front of a line of traffic, the other drivers will be alerted of the action, thus reducing rear-end collisions.
This technology only works between two vehicles that have V2V installed. A vehicle with V2V will not to be able to detect dangerous conditions brought on by the actions of a vehicle without V2V installed.
How Does V2V Communication Work?
The V2V communication is effective up to 1,000 feet or about 300 meters, giving the drivers plenty of time to respond to hazards. It uses dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) which is a wireless network similar to Wi-Fi.
The DSRC works with global positioning system (GPS) technology to work with other vehicles in the area with the V2V communication features. The messages that are currently available include current position, speed, direction and steering, brake status, and transmission.
Vehicle to Vehicle Communication Increases Safety
The goal of V2V technology is to be available in as many vehicles as possible to make the road safer for drivers, and it clearly would be a valuable safety feature in many ways.
The claim is that V2V communication, in conjunction with the vehicle to infrastructure communication, V2I, vehicles communicating with traffic lights, road signs, etc.), could reduce crashes by up to 80 percent.
Because of this, the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are working to propose a rule that all light vehicles must be equipped with V2V communication.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also working on ways to retrofit vehicles that have already been built and are currently in use with this technology to speed up the progress of getting V2V communication in every vehicle on the road.
Although vehicles must be equipped with V2V communication to report each vehicle’s conditions to each other, individual vehicles will be able to warn the driver of hazards such as an obstacle ahead in the road or another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot.
It would basically act in this respect as an extra set of eyes for the driver. This alone will help the drivers to drive much more safely, especially at night or in bad weather conditions when visibility is reduced.
Vehicles Will Be Able to Warn Following Vehicles of Upcoming Hazards
Regarding hazardous weather conditions, there is also work being done that allows the V2V technology to alert other drivers of hazards that vehicles’ systems have discovered ahead of them.
For instance, if several vehicles are on a road and the first car slips on an icy road, the V2V system will alert the other drivers on the road of this hazard.
Also, there is work being done to transmit this information to traffic management centers so all drivers on the road can be alerted of the danger by broadcasting on road signs and taking other actions.
V2V Systems Will Alert Drivers to Approaching Emergency Vehicles
There is also the potential for making it easier for emergency vehicles to arrive at emergency situations faster. The V2V technology would alert drivers of an emergency vehicle coming and would give drivers more time to safely make way for the emergency vehicle to pass.
Also, the emergency vehicle’s V2I technology would be able to communicate with traffic lights and cause them to turn green at the right moment to allow them to pass through without slowing down.
This would lead to emergency vehicles arriving at emergencies faster with the added benefit of making roads safer surrounding emergency vehicles.
Why V2V Matters: What V2V Communication Means for the Driving Experience
What the driver will experience when driving a vehicle equipped with V2V communication technology is very similar to what is experienced now.
The driver is still completely in control of the vehicle. V2V technology has no way of making decisions for the driver. Instead, it can only alert the driver of dangerous conditions through a visual display, seat and steering wheel vibration, and/or tone.
It has been reported that driverless cars are safer than manually driven cars, but many drivers are uncomfortable with this idea because they still want to be in control of their vehicles. V2V technology has many of the advantageous safety features that driverless cars have without the driver giving up control of the vehicle. This means that when V2V technology is used properly, the driving experience can only be safer.
Possible Hazards of V2V Communication
As with all safety features, there are potential hazards with V2V communication technology. The first of these is that drivers may tend to rely on the alerts from their vehicle to drive safely and not pay as careful attention to the roads.
Certainly, this technology is far from replacing the watchful eye of the driver. Although this has some of the same features, this is not a driverless car, and the driver must be manually in control of the vehicle at all times.
To those who are less familiar with modern technology, the V2V communication in the car may be a distraction. For instance, if someone is not used to something beeping or vibrating as a simple alert, this could take the driver’s attention completely off the road for a critical moment.
Likewise, if the visual display is in use, the driver might take his eyes off the road to read the display, again, at a critical moment. This type of driver might be safer without this technology in the car until he becomes more familiar with modern technology.
Cybersecurity Issues Affecting V2V Communication
There is also the issue of cybersecurity. As with all connected technology, there is always a way to hack into the system and, in this case, cause significant damage. If this system is maliciously manipulated, it could cause people injury or potentially death. There is much work being done to make this system as secure as possible.
V2V communication technology may be the future of highway safety. Currently, there are no systems in place, but there is much work being done in that direction.
Although there are a few issues with this technology, it overall seems that the various safety features show great promise in making the roads a safer place for drivers and their loved ones.
United States Department of Transportation, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luo4my7yn58