Weekly Brief: Toyota places its bets on DSRC

Carmaker snubs GPS in plans to integrate V2V and V2I communications across its Toyota and Lexus brands in the US. Andrew Tolve reports.

If cars could talk, the stories they would tell … and the lives they would save, what with all the detailed information they could share about potential hazards, stopped vehicles ahead, visually obstructed signals, signs and road conditions. This potential is why Toyota says it’s planning to deploy vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications in Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the US beginning in 2021, with plans to integrate the technology across most of the Toyota and Lexus line-ups come the mid-2020s.

To get there, the carmaker is embracing dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems, which use Wifi to enable the broadcasting of precise, anonymous vehicle data several times per second, including location, speed and acceleration. Some other carmakers have embraced DSRC as well, most notably General Motors, which integrated DSRC into its 2017 Cadillac CTS. Toyota first launched DSRC in Japan in 2015 and now has more than 100,000 DSRC-equipped Toyota and Lexus vehicles on the road there. The company is encouraging all automakers to commit to DSRC to scale the technology and realise full benefits on the road.

In other news, Jaguar Land Rover launched a £4.7Mproject called AutopleX to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles. AutopleX will combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to self-driving cars. AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands, in partnership with Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG.

Lyft is going carbon neutral. Starting this week, the company says it will purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions produced during every one of its rides. It will purchase the credits through San Francisco-based sustainability company 3Degrees, which will use the money to plant trees, create wind farms and capture more greenhouse gases before they are released to the atmosphere. Lyft is the first major ride-hailing company to make such a pledge.

Chevrolet and Shell are rolling out an in-dash fuel payment and savings service. Drivers of eligible Chevy vehicles can now tap on their touchscreens, open the Marketplace interface and select the Shell icon, which will allow them to activate a desired pump and start fuelling at participating Shell locations around the US. The total is then automatically charged to the payment method on file.

Nissan announced that the Rogue Sport is now available with standard auto emergency braking (AEB), blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert on all models from the second half of 2018. The update also includes standard intelligent cruise control on the Rogue Sport SL version.

Finally, Volvo will take its valet service programme nationwide in the US at the beginning of 2019. The company has a successful pilot underway in Palo Alto, CA, where it allows drivers to set service appointments with a few taps on their smartphones. Authorised Volvo drivers then pick up the vehicles, unlock them using a digital key and drive them to a nearby service centre on the owner’s behalf. In-car deliveries, where Volvo owners have groceries and other items delivered to the car’s trunk, are popular in Europe and have been operating there since 2015; 95% of first-time customers recommend the service to others. Volvo is considering bringing similar delivery services to the US market as well.
The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry sources.

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