An anonymous reader writes: Car manufacturers around the world are working on vehicle-to-vehicle technologies to help make driving safer.
The Car-2-Car Consortium's system, which includes GM's Vehicle-to-Vehicle project, combines three technologies — a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) antenna, a wireless data system and a computer that interprets the information it receives.
GPS tracks the position of the car while sensor data from the car — such as speed, direction, road conditions and if the windscreen wipers are on and if the brakes have been stamped on — is monitored by the on-board computer.
A wireless system similar to existing wi-fi technology — based on the 802.11p protocol — transmits and receives data to and from nearby cars, creating an ad-hoc network.
Data hops from car to car and the on-board computers can build a picture of road and traffic conditions based on information from multiple vehicles across a great distance.
Cars travelling in opposite directions can share information about where they have been and so informing each other about where they are going.
Vehicle to vehicle technology
Traffic information about roadworks and speed limits can be displayed
"The wireless system has a range of 500m outside the city and 100m in the city," said Prof Wieker. He said the consortium had opted for wireless rather than a mobile network because it was faster.
"The data moves between cars in milliseconds," he said.
Drivers receive warnings through messages on an in-car display, audio alerts and even seat vibrations.
The system works through "data fusion and logical combination of information", said Prof Wieker.
For example, if one driver switches on his fog lamp and slows down, the computer could interpret it as an anomaly. But if three or four cars follow suit, the computer could reasonably assume that there is a fog problem.
The system stores this information and passes it on to cars several kilometres down the road which are travelling in the opposite direction, heading towards the fog problem.
"It is useful not only as a safety system but could also be used to improve traffic efficiency," said Prof Wieker.
The backers envisage the technology being embedded into traffic lights and road signs so that real-time traffic information can be passed to cars, potentially funnelling motorists to alternative routes.