Car2X is not a mirage – it is already reality

Car2X is not a mirage – it is already reality

With Car2X and WLANp, vehicles can actually communicate directly with each other and their surroundings, improving road safety for everyone.

It cannot be determined at this stage whether 5G will be the best technology for autonomous driving. Nevertheless, there is already a platform that can raise networked driving to a new level: WLANp. With this technology, vehicles receive information whitin a few milliseconds from other means of transport in travel such as  from traffic lights and smart motorway gantry signs. WLANp is a technical standard specifically designed for local vehicle communication. It makes possible the transmission of dynamic and temporary data in real time.

What is Car2X for?

First-generation Car2X technology warns the driver of several problems such as the presence of an accident or the arrival of an emergency vehicle which needs a clear lane. In emergency braking situations, it warns the traffic behind to prevent rear-end shunts.

This is not just theoretical. Tests in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig and Frankfurt have proved that these situations function in real life. On a main road in Wolfsburg, ten traffic lights were interconnected, improving the traffic flow by preventing unnecessary braking and acceleration.

The WLANp signal has a range of 150 m in the city and up to 800 m on rural roads and highways. The signal covers 360° and there are no ongoing communication costs. Car2X is based on a radio connection and does not require Wi-Fi or a mobile internet connection. Moreover, data security is also maximised as no sensitive data is stored on the backend during transmission.

The potential of WLANp

Other functions are planned for WLANp technology, for example notifying any pedestrian, cyclist and motorcyclist at intersections, avoiding dangerous situations thanks to a much more precise positioning data than that provided by a smartphone. WLANp has been available for some time now, but the challenge has been to create a single standard across Europe and amongst different manufacturers. All traffic participants have to speak the same language in order to communicate with each other. Volkswagen has succeeded in setting up an initial infrastructure in collaboration with Siemens, the German Ministry of Transport, the police, and cities such as Kassel and Wolfsburg. The latter wants to make the benefits of intelligent vehicle networking a tangible reality as soon as possible by becoming a model digital city.


Differences between standards

The terms 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G indicate the different mobile networking standards, in which the transmission speed is an important and distinguishing factor. The letter G stands for the respective generation. Currently 2G, 3G and 4G are available in most European countries ; while 5G is slated to go into service in 2020 and is expected to double transmission speeds compared to those currently achieved. In the meantime, the LTE-V2X standard, a “bridge” technology between 4G and 5G, should already enable direct communication between vehicles. However, the availability of this technology has been limited because there is no common cross-manufacturer protocol.

In the future, 5G-V2X will enable direct communication between vehicles and transport infrastructure; the standardisation process is under development, but it is not possible to foresee when it will be completed, particularly since the technology must be validated in the field as it becomes available.

Source: Volkswagen AG

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