V2X Vital for Traffic Efficiency and Road Safety

The mobility industry is transforming itself and, with it, comes the need to change and improve automotive connectivity.

New technologies won’t work without it because it defines the future of mobility thanks to the key role that real-time data analysis, to and from vehicles as well as from the infrastructure around them, will play. It is, with considerations to network latency, imperative to have the ability to gain real-time insights to make decisions that can save lives. By collating automotive data from the various sources, including from connected and autonomous vehicles, it becomes possible to understand traffic patterns, driver behavior, accident prevalence and other factors that are key to increasing road safety, while simultaneously reducing accidents.

Delays in the relay of data can lead to inaccurate data, poor data analysis and poorer decision-making. However, a spokesperson from car data services platform Otonomo comments: “In the next few years, as communication networks become more efficient and ubiquitous, we will see an increased diversity of safety-focused mobility solutions being deployed.”

Traffic management and safety

“Vehicle to everything (V2X) technologies enable vehicles to communicate data directly with other vehicles (V2V), infrastructure (V2I), pedestrians (V2P), and networks (V2N). This data can quickly be processed to provide quicker response times for better traffic management and road safety. Automotive data can also be sent to the cloud and utilized by smart cities to power their intelligent transportation systems, or by countless use cases that improve the customer experience. V2X can increase traffic efficiency and road safety with real-time direct communications between vehicles and the world around them.”

Here are some of the use cases cited by the company:

  • V2I – Traffic lights alerting vehicles to adjust their speed due to an impending light change;
  • V2V – Warnings issued between vehicles to prevent collisions;
  • V2V – Traffic or hazard alerts shared between vehicles;
  • V2P – Safety warnings to pedestrians or cyclist;
  • V2V- Alerts of Emergency vehicles approaching;
  • V2I – Speed limit alerts;
  • V2X – Enablement of autonomous vehicles through V2X feedback.

Rich data

As time advances, the company predicts that connected vehicles will increasingly become ubiquitous and it cites a recent report by EPM and SBD Automotive, which forecasts that 96% of new vehicles shipped globally in 2030 will have built-in connectivity. “This connectivity will permit connected vehicles to communicate several data attributes from multiple sensors, which provide rich data about vehicles and their surroundings,” says its spokesperson.

She adds: “Vehicle data powers the algorithms and infrastructure that enables the innovations in these trends. It makes us smarter about driver behavior, the realities of the road, and even the performance of vehicles.”  Yet there is more work to be done. In her organization’s view, the current communications infrastructure is insufficiently reliable for the core applications need to fully achieve V2X’s potential. She explains why: “There needs to be a measurable increase in wireless capacity, bandwidth, speed and networks to manage the masses of data generated by vehicles, other transportation related devices and applications and to decrease latency thus ensuring quality and accurate delivery of services in real-time.”

Magnus Gunnarsson, head of product at Ericsson Connected Vehicles says his company is seeing the following major ‘CV2X’ trends too:

  • Interoperability – i.e. Technology and/or service provider neutrality enabling C-V2X or C-ITS services to function across countries, regions, brands and networks.
  • Legal, Governmental and Regulations – After more than a decade of ongoing discussions in – for example – Europe and the US, it is now evident that there will be no technology preference in the anticipated regulatory framework. This means that the automakers, tech providers, Mobile Network Operators, and road transport authorities will need to accelerate their efforts in cross- industry standardization forums. Ericsson is acting within 5GAA for this purpose.
  • Future C-V2X use cases will require cellular technologies. Ericsson is convinced that the C-ITS and C-V2X use cases that are now in development will rely on a cellular network technologies, in a combination of direct vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-network-to-cloud.

Much of the question about how V2X can improve traffic efficiency and road safety is dependent, in his view, upon how V2X is defined. He argues that vehicle connectivity in combination with ITS services “has the potential to increase traffic density and long term introduce things like automatic lane-merger, automated highway drive, platooning etc.”.  However, most of the focus is on traffic safety, accident prevention and on fatality reduction.

Shared mobility  

Both companies think there is much opportunity to not only increase traffic efficiency and to improve road safety but to all use communications and data to drive “shared mobility, connectivity services, and feature upgrades [that] will expand automotive revenue pools by 30%”.

Otonomo’s spokesperson explains: “V2X isn’t just about the immediate communication it provides for safety use cases. It is expected to open a treasure trove of opportunities available from the data that connected vehicles provide. By 2030, it is estimated that new services and applications driven by shared mobility, connectivity services, and feature upgrades will expand automotive revenue pools by 30%, creating up to $1.5Trn in additional revenue. Connected vehicle data derived from V2X will be relayed back to OEMs, and can be used to provide a wealth of insights to improve vehicle safety and customer experience. Additionally, this data can be licensed to third parties for further use cases.”

Go-to-market models

Magnusson adds that the connected vehicle is here to stay and, with it, comes the biggest challenge the automotive industry has faced since, perhaps, the Model T Ford. The future is about connected, autonomous vehicles, shared services and electrification (CASE). Data, data analysis and digital transformation play a role in this future, which many experts hope will be led by changing consumer behavior and new go-to-market models such as mobility-as-a-service and vehicle subscriptions.

He comments: “In order to stay on top a successful automaker will need to invest heavily in new vehicular architecture for electric vehicles, the software and service associated to the vehicles, and ensure that is can tap into a vibrant ecosystem of third-party service providers, either directly or through technology partners such as Google.” V2X is part of this mix as it will accelerate road safety.

Safer intersections

On the question of whether V2X is really the key to increasing traffic efficiency and road safety, Otonomo’s spokesperson stresses that V2X can drive them both – making, for example, intersections safer to navigate. The risk of entering and exiting them can be reduced by using V2X. She explains: “Statistics have shown that, in the US, almost 40% of all collisions happen in intersections. Furthermore, a quarter of all traffic related deaths and half of all injuries occur in intersections. V2X technologies are being put to use on the local, state and federal level to tackle this top priority.

“Vehicles leveraging V2X receive alerts about road hazards and dangers that are not in the line of sight thus reducing the chance for collisions, injuries and fatalities. Cities can target notoriously dangerous intersections, with relatively low investment, to increase their safety. Yet, as discussed earlier, V2X can only succeed when supported by a reliable and extensive communication infrastructure and application-ready data.” It is, therefore, vital to permit the use of privacy-compliant data to empower smart cities, fleets and the transportation ecosystem as a whole – efficiently and safely.

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