Volkswagen has announced that it will start equipping its first models with connected vehicle technology from 2019, allowing its new cars to communicate with other vehicles and transport infrastructure in the vicinity.
Volkswagen will start fitting its first models with pWLAN (wireless local area network) technology as standard equipment in order to serve as an additional communication system for the exchange of selected information relevant to traffic between cars made by different manufacturers.
This will involve information being exchanged in both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) modes. This will, for example, enable information about the current traffic state, accidents, and other situations relating to traffic conditions, to be shared with the local environment, within a radius of approximately 1,640ft (500m), faster than has been previously possible.
The technology used by Volkswagen is based on the international IEEE 802.11p (pWLAN) standard using the 5.9GHz waveband, which the automotive industry has developed and tested for direct, non-proprietary inter-vehicle communication, as well as between vehicles and transport infrastructure, in global markets using the same message format.
Using this technology, specially developed and validated for the requirements of automotive applications, it is possible to share information about the current traffic situation, warnings, or even sensor data, with the local environment within a few milliseconds. The equipment extends the vehicle’s coverage by several hundred meters, allowing it to ‘look around the corner’.
Widely used in the USA for dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), the 5.9GHz waveband also forms the basis for the European ITS-G5 standard, and is intended for the widespread sharing of road safety and traffic information. Due to the localized nature of data exchanged using this band, no data is stored centrally, meaning that there are no ongoing communications costs and it does not rely on cell phone network coverage.
As its effectiveness increases through a large number of users, Volkswagen is cooperating with authorities, ministries of transport, and other automobile and transport industry partners, working on projects to accelerate the spread of the technology through to its inclusion in serial production.
“We want to increase road safety with the aid of networked vehicles, and the most efficient way of achieving this is through the rapid roll-out of a common technology,” explained Johannes Neft, head of vehicle body development for the Volkswagen brand. “What matters most is that the technology is used consistently, and by as many manufacturers and partners as possible.”