Working alongside the autonomous car technology push is inter-vehicle communication, and Volkswagen says its customers can expect to see it as soon as 2019.
Dubbed V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) - or increasingly, V2X - the technology is viewed as vital as cars increasingly drive themselves.
Among the benefits is communication with traffic signals, enabling vehicles to know whether vehicles around traffic lights or level crossings will be moving once it arrives. This serves the dual benefit of improving fuel consumption and reducing congestion.
Vehicles can also communicate with other vehicles, letting them know about congestion ahead, a traffic incident or even potholes.
In the beginning, Volkswagen says its vehicles will be fitted with V2V technology capable of communicating with surrounding vehicles “within a few milliseconds” up to 500 metres.
Should Volkswagen find itself alone with the V2X tech in 2019, other carmakers shouldn’t be far behind as communication frequencies have already been standardised with future self-driving vehicles in mind.
The frequency also operates ‘around corners’ and in the localised area only, meaning it can run without data retention and without access to a mobile phone network.
“We want to increase road safety with the aid of networked vehicles, and the most efficient way of achieving this is through the rapid roll-out of a common technology", Volkswagen’s Johannes Neft said.
“What matters most is that the technology is used consistently, and by as many manufacturers and partners as possible."
Volkswagen said the system may be limited to V2V tech in the beginning, but its capacity would grow as more cars and infrastructure adopted the necessary sensors.
The carmaker said it is already working with local traffic authorities in various countries to roll out V2X, and that protecting data generated while the technology is in use will be a priority.
Germany, the Netherlands and Austria are already working with V2I to warn drivers as they approach roadworks.
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