A total of twelve vehicle manufacturers from the Car to Car Communication Consortium (C2C-CC) have signed a memorandum to lay down a common strategy for making vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (Car-to-Car and Car-to-Infrastructure, also known as Vehicle-to-X) with shared standards ready for series production.The goal of the manufacturers is to offer initial cooperative systems from 2015 that allow vehicles from different manufacturers to communicate with each other and exchange data with the infrastructure.
Continental sees vehicle communication as a key technology for mobility in the future. “If vehicles can communicate with each other and the infrastructure, this opens up a wide field for new functions. With smart applications, we can make driving a much safer, more eco-friendly, and more comfortable experience,” explains Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board at Continental and Head of the Interior Division. “The step made toward systematically continuing to work on industry-wide standards is one that we warmly welcome as an associated member of the Car to Car Communication Consortium. Only through industry-wide cooperation can we succeed in allowing vehicles to speak the same language in the future,” he continues.
Continental has been making vehicles more intelligent with telematics systems since 1995. While the systems have so far been primarily used to bring infotainment data into the vehicle, car-to-X communication turns every vehicle into a control center. All the data gathered, e.g. about speed, position, and driving direction, can then be made available to other road users or infrastructure units such as traffic lights or traffic control systems via Car-to-X technology. The vehicle’s own systems can evaluate this data and make the results usable for the driver or for other vehicle systems, such as navigation and safety systems. If a vehicle in front brakes quickly and thus announces the presence of a traffic jam or accident scene after the next bend, the vehicles behind it can adapt to the situation at an early stage.
By more or less turning other road users into an extended vehicle sensor, we can actively prevent accidents. Car-to-X communication allows drivers to see around corners in every sense of the word,” explains Dr. Bernhard Klumpp, Head of the Passive Safety & Sensors business unit in the Continental Chassis & Safety division. Consumption can also be lowered by means of vehicle communication. The more data is available about traffic flow and density, the more efficiently a vehicle can be guided through the traffic with as little fuel-robbing braking and acceleration as possible.
“In order to support the SOP of Car-to-X communication, Continental is currently developing different components that make an inexpensive system possible. This means we can support the SOP from the very start,” continues Dr. Klumpp. One system consists of the M2XPro sensor and the Intelligent Antenna Module. The M2XPro (Motion Information 2 X Provider) can identify a vehicle’s position, right down to the lane. This is made possible by the fusion of driving dynamic sensors and GPS data. The sensor provides other control units with information about the vehicle’s movements as well as a precise time base by means of an intelligent fusion algorithm. In addition, the M2XPro can also work out the actual car-to-X functions so that an additional control unit is not required. In combination with the Intelligent Antenna Module from Continental, the exact vehicle data can be provided not only to all of the vehicle’s own systems but can also be sent to the surrounding infrastructure. The intelligent antenna module combines the antennae for wireless communication between vehicle and infrastructure, the antennae for the vehicle interior, and the associated transmission and reception electronics in a single unit. This means the module can facilitate services such as the telephone, radio, GPS, and WLAN as well as the vehicle-to-vehicle communication of the future.
In the long term, Car-to-X communication will be one of the technical cornerstones for automated driving and will ensure much greater driving comfort. If vehicles have sensor and movement data about other surrounding vehicles in addition to their own sensors, automated driving maneuvers can be performed with even more safety.