What is V2X?

What is Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) Communication (V2V, V2I, V2P)

V2X is an intelligent transport system comprising of Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) communications. Biometric seat technology; autonomously managed municipality; and highway system are also part of advanced IoT technologies. This gamut of IOT technologies aims to change the way we drive making transportation safer, reducing traffic congestion, and the environmental impact of automobiles.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication) technology allows vehicles to relay data wirelessly between two vehicles and to smart infrastructure. The aim of V2V communication is to allow vehicles in transit to develop 360-degree awareness of the surrounding environment. As a key module of the autonomous vehicles, V2V falls in the class of Non-Line-of-Sight communications that can enhance the safety of self-driving cars when approached by unmanned or unseen intersection.

Data from V2V communication can be further used by intelligent transport system to improve traffic management. It forms a connected network for vehicles to communicate with roadside infrastructures like traffic lights and signs; Lanes management systems, which digitally switch lanes based on the traffic patterns; and also enable “platooning”, a connectivity feature in which the vehicles following a set path can accelerate and brake simultaneously.

How technologies used in V2X are supposed to work

Communication protocols represent the keystone of V2V systems. At present, there is no globally harmonized standard for V2X communication. While China primarily uses LTE-V2X technology, which is based on mobile communications, Europe and the United States are planning to additionally introduce transmission standards based on Wi-Fi called Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC), which is based on IEEE 802.11p, and ITS-G5 alongside LTE-V2X.

Upcoming 5G technology can be a game-changer for V2X. 5G can seamlessly provide fast, reliable low latency, and low failure tolerance connectivity. This would facilitate native support for peer-to-peer communication and large data transfers such as sharing of sensor data among cars, position sensing, and sharing of high definition maps.

A cross-industry coalition of various leading companies involving major automotive players like Audi, BMW, and Daimler, telecom services; equipment providers like Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia; and semiconductor companies like Intel and Qualcomm are collaborating to evolve, test, and promote 5G communications for connected cars.

What are the benefits of V2X?

V2X addresses safety applications that are crucial for the driver’s rapid, robust, and timely performance. For instance, the technology would provide the driver with the information needed to decide whether it is safe to pass on a two-lane road (to avoid potential head-on collisions); take the path of oncoming traffic, or turn at an intersection. In these situations, V2V communications can alert drivers of developing troubling conditions hundreds of yards away, when the driver and onboard sensors cannot detect the threat. In addition, V2V systems support automated drive functions like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

How are Startups Taking Advantage?

Startups are innovating with technology in more intriguing ways pushing ahead of large companies. VCs are also clearly taking a significant interest in this space as IOT connected vehicles industry is expected to boom by 2025. According to pitchbook, globally the funding environment in autonomous vehicles over the last decade has been very positive with about USD 30.4 billion being invested across 450 deals in autonomous vehicles and related technologies. In Q1 2020 alone venture capital investors poured a record $3.4 billion.

Past trends suggest that a significant portion of VC investment in the space has gone toward startups such as Zoox, Nuroa and Aurora – focused on developing full-stack autonomous solutions. However, according to Pitchbook, this is starting to change as investments are expanding into companies that focus on a single aspect of autonomy, such as perception or localization, or otherwise augment the autonomous vehicle space.

Key challenges holding off V2X technology

Government Guidelines on DSRC versus Cellular

Due to two competing and mutually exclusive standards for providing V2V communications the United States and the EU are both experiencing delays in reviewing and passing V2V-related regulatory rulings. While many OEMs will gravitate towards 5G, DSRC still appeals to automakers like Ford, GM, and Toyota as they will not have to pay for a subscription fee.

Spectrum

V2V communications occur in a 75 MHz band of the 5.9 GHz spectrum, which has been allocated to V2V by the FCC since 1999. Since there was little development on V2V for a long time, cable TV and cell phone companies have been pushing to expand their bandwidth into the 5.9 GHz spectrum.

Cost

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that V2V equipment, security, and information management systems will cost about $350 per vehicle in 2020 and decrease to around $200 by 2058. Annual additional costs for automakers are projected to be $300 million to $2.1 billion in 2020, $1.1 to 6.4 billion between 2022 and 2024, and decrease to $1.1 to 4.6 billion.

But it’s not just the technology that has to evolve; major upgrades need to be made in infrastructure, regulations, insurance models, and more to accelerate advanced driver assistance systems adoption.

Security Concerns

Public Key Certificates architectures, similar to the systems used in banking and credit cards, will be used for V2V to prevent cyber hacking. Also, NHTSA stipulates that V2V systems will not collect, broadcast, or share personal information between vehicles, or permit the tracking of a specific driver or vehicle.

Conclusion

V2V has been in discussion for over a decade for its safety offerings. But its implementation has been complicated due to factors such as technology, wireless spectrum, governmental regulatory bodies, the cooperation of automakers, and adaptation of the technology as a whole.

As 5G progresses, V2V players stand to benefit. Sensors, data storage, and analytics will become cost-effective. Development in the road infrastructure including traffic lights, freeway structure, etc, will roll V2I adoption.

V2V will continue to evolve slowly. It may be 2030 before we have commercially viable vehicles that can detect the sudden stop of other vehicles in front. And the full implementation of V2V including V2I may be futuristic.