What is Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication (V2V)?

Automotive technology has improved and evolved by leaps and bounds over the past 75 years. The first modern seat belt appeared in 1955, airbags first started being widely used during the 1980s and 1990s, and lane departure warning technology followed shortly thereafter in the early 2000s. 

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (sometimes abbreviated as v2v communication) came onto the scene approximately ten years ago. The goal of such technology was simple: allow cars to communicate and share data with each other regarding their direction of travel, rate of speed, and use of brakes. 

The developers of this technology hoped that it could alert drivers to obstacles or hazards up to a mile in front of them, giving them time to slow down or otherwise avoid a collision. 

Now, almost a decade after manufacturers first started seriously considering v2v technology, the future of v2v communication looks to be heading toward even greater automation.

How Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Operates

Since automobiles were first introduced to the public near the beginning of the twentieth century, they have been solitary machines. The only way a vehicle could broadcast to other drivers its intention to stop or turn was through the use of hand signals. Later, turn and brake signals were incorporated into the design of automobiles. 

Today, cars can be much more connected. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication works in a manner similar to how cell phones and other devices can communicate with one another using wireless networks. Vehicles broadcast, receive, and retransmit signals that contain information about their own movements and those of other nearby vehicles.

The Future of V2V Communication 

Equipped with this information, first-generation v2v communication technology aimed to provide some warning — whether visible, audible, or both — to a driver about stopped or disabled cars, traffic conditions, and other dangers that may be beyond the driver’s ability to see.

More current vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology seeks to integrate with other vehicle safety features. For example, by allowing v2v to integrate with an automatic braking system, a car’s computer could begin to slow a vehicle down safely in response to a traffic jam or road construction.

Safety Benefits of Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

If implemented and integrated with modern vehicles’ existing safety technologies, v2v communication has the potential to be a literal lifesaver. Distracted driving is a particularly dangerous practice that claimed the lives of 3,142 individuals in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

With the ability to alert drivers about threats that are up to a mile in front of them, however, even a heavily-distracted driver would hear or see a warning and be able to stop before colliding with the hazard. An audible warning might even be able to rouse a drowsy driver who is dozing off behind the wheel.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication may also help drivers in heavily-populated areas avoid traffic jams, thereby easing road congestion. If a driver could learn about slow or stopped traffic that is up to a mile in front of them, they would have adequate time to take an alternate route and avoid adding to the congestion.

The Future of Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication and integrated safety technologies are likely to feature prominently in automated vehicles of the near future. 

Because automated vehicles (sometimes known as self-driving cars) are designed to safely operate without any action from a human driver, providing such vehicles’ computers with as much information as possible can increase ride quality and safety.

Despite the potential benefits of v2v communication, some worry that the technology is already outdated. Others are concerned that vehicle-to-vehicle communication could potentially interfere with other wireless communications and services. 

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