Europe develops standards and technology to make driving easier, safer
Daimler AG will become the first carmaker to introduce vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology for passenger cars when it introduces Drive Kit Plus™ for Mercedes-Benz vehicles later this year. The kit is a vehicle-to-vehicle telematics system that can be retrofitted to all of the company’s current production models, and the service will operate through the company’s Digital DriveStyle smartphone app. Daimler says it is developing a fully integrated version to be included in future car models, but Drive Kit Plus is the first step in a much bigger plan.
Damiler’s technology is the most basic component of a fully-integrated telematics network that will enable vehicles to automatically communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure such as traffic signals and rail crossings, providing what Daimler calls “driver assistance.” Working within standards developed by Europe’s Car-to-Car Communications Consortium (C2C), Daimler’s system will transmit information about obstacles in the road, traffic congestion, the presence of emergency vehicles and other potential hazards detected by a vehicle’s on-board sensors and optical equipment. This information will be transmitted to all other (equipped) vehicles in the area through the Digital DriveSytle app. The information is designed to enhance drivers’ situational awareness so they can make the necessary decisions to avoid delays and dangerous situations.
Daimler’s Drive Kit Plus is the first link in Europe’s Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (C-ITS). Utilizing car-to-car (C2C) and car-to-infrastructure (C-to-X) communications, C-ITS will enable vehicles to exchange data about speed, position and driving direction as well as with road-side units communicating with traffic lights, variable traffic signs and traffic reporting systems. The in-vehicle system analyses the incoming data and warns the driver of specific and potentially dangerous situations, such as a vehicle in front suddenly slowing down, a broken-down vehicle or construction blocking a lane, or a road hazard caused by weather. The system can also provide real-time information about temporary speed limits or the timing of phased traffic lights, not only helping drivers avoid accidents but also, as stated by the Consortium, “contributing to more efficient and comfortable driving.”
To make sure all vehicles are literally speaking the same language, the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium was launched in Europe in 2002. Daimler spotted the potential early on and has been a driving force behind the whole project. The project includes eleven other auto makers and dozens of Tier 1 suppliers, and they have made serious progress over the past decade. In 2012, member companies agreed to cooperate in creating a standardized Car-to-X communications system for all of Europe, and today they are ready to begin building the Car-to-X infrastructure. Daimler is currently acting as the project manager for German and European field trials of Car-to-X communications and will no doubt be among the first to market with Car-to-X systems when C-ITS is deployed in 2015.
According to Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber of Daimler’s R&D Group, this technology will eventually be utilized by the vehicle itself though the automaker’s on-board accident avoidance system, an important step in the development of Daimler’s autonomous driving functions.
Learn more about the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium and the C-ITS at http://www.car-to-car.org.
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