Next-Gen Fleet

Vehicle-to-What? — Evolving Vehicle Communication Technologies

March 16, 2018

by Facundo Tassara - Also by this author

Image of connected vehicles courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation
Image of connected vehicles courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation

A few years ago, while I was a fleet manager, I remember an accident involving one of our marked police vehicles — a type of accident that happens too often. The officer was approaching the intersection with no vehicles in his lane but several vehicles headed in the same direction in lane next to him creating a wall of cars. As the officer edged out into the intersection to make sure it was clear, he was T-boned and suffered significant injuries.

Vehicle manufacturers, often in partnership with third-party companies, are working on all sorts of interesting technologies in hopes of creating safer vehicles and roads. At the same time, they are adding to the acronyms floating around in our industry. While some are closer than others to actually having an impact on government fleets, it’s important to get familiar with them now as they may have huge implications in the near future. So here they are as defined by major organizations:

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V): “Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication’s ability to wirelessly exchange information about the speed and position of surrounding vehicles shows great promise in helping to avoid crashes, ease traffic congestion, and improve the environment. But the greatest benefits can only be achieved when all vehicles can communicate with each other.” Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 

Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X): “Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) complements other current vehicle sensor technologies by extending a vehicle’s ability to ‘see’ further down the road and providing a higher level of predictability for enhanced safety and autonomous driving.”  Source: Ford Motor Company

Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I): “V2I technologies capture vehicle-generated traffic data, wirelessly providing information such as advisories from the infrastructure to the vehicle that inform the driver of safety, mobility, or environment-related conditions.” Source: United States Department of Transportation

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G): “V2G technology allows for the bi-directional sharing of electricity between electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and the electric power grid. The technology turns each vehicle into a power storage system, increasing power reliability and the amount of renewable energy available to the grid during peak power usage.” Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Vehicle-to-X (V2X): “…refers to an intelligent transportation system where all vehicle and infrastructure systems are interconnected with each other.” Source: Siemens

Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V): “The driver wears a device that measures brain wave activity, which is then analyzed by autonomous systems. By anticipating intended movement, the systems can take actions — such as turning the steering wheel or slowing the car — 0.2 to 0.5 seconds faster than the driver, while remaining largely imperceptible.” Source: Nissan

There is a good chance that I not only missed some acronyms, but that new ones may have developed while you read this blog post.

So back to the example of the officer getting into a serious accident that I started off with. Could this accident have been avoided with V2I or V2V technology? Several of the major OEMs think so and are spending billions of dollars a year working on the technology. Sure, there are also security concerns, but start thinking about this since you may one day have a check box available for this technology as you are spec'ing your new equipment.  

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