V2V Communications

January 30, 2017
V2V Communications

U.S. auto-safety regulators have mandated that new vehicles must communicate with each other and to infrastructure communication systems using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology beginning in 2020, with the goal of increasing safety. View the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  Vehicle-to-Vehicle Fact Sheet here:

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: V2V Communications was published in the Federal Register on January 12.  The proposed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) mandates vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications for new light vehicles, and standardizes the message and format of V2V transmissions. Public comments will be due April 12, 2017.

One method for vehicles to communicate is the use of the 5.9GHz safety spectrum, which was allocated by the federal government to ensure that vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications run without interference. Each vehicle would beam GPS coordinates, speed and direction data. Nearby vehicles will receive the data, analyze it with on-board computers, send safety alerts, and engage collision-avoidance systems.

According to Avinash Salelkar, head of the manufacturing business unit for Syntel, “Many new vehicles are already equipped with active systems that act in the event of an imminent collision. However, in order for tomorrow’s V2V technology to improve road safety, it is essential that it integrates with active systems that can steer away and brake." V2V systems without 'steer away and brake' active technologies may only be useful in the case of an inattentive driver, Salelkar explains.

Salelkar says that another possible way to employ V2V communications is to use IoT-based “connected car” technology. "The benefits of IoT-enabled cars include real-time monitoring of vehicle health, the ability to provide predictive maintenance reminders, and establishing a feedback loop where vehicle performance data is sent back to manufacturers to make future models more reliable,” said Salelkar.

However, Salelkar notes that using IoT “connected car” technology has limitations such as network lag and processing latency that could cause the system to be unreliable - certainly unacceptable for such a critical application. An IoT-based systems would also carry a significant price tag for cellular-based data access.

In contrast, the newly-mandated V2V protocol is inherently a short-range communication system, meaning it cannot provide any of the side benefits of an IoT-based system. “At this point, it appears likely that the V2V and IoT approaches will work separately.”

Salelkar says the greater challenge he sees is how the current vehicle population is addressed. For instance, in a scenario with a mix of connected and non- connected vehicles, the non- connected vehicles would be ‘invisible’ in certain respects to V2V-equipped vehicles.Also, the high cost and difficulty of retrofitting all existing vehicles on the road is an issue, as well as the possibility of an increase in accidents as drivers become over-reliant on the new technology and are lulled into a false sense of security. 

Still, Salelkar sees V2V as a positive development for the industry. “Overall, it appears that V2V technology will rely heavily on the investments that automakers have already made in developing sensor and automation technology for autonomous cars. There is a great deal of synergy between these technology areas. I believe this is a big part of why the industry appears positive toward the new requirements.”