BMW
Driverless

Technology in the automotive industry has been developing at lightning speed and shows no sign of slowing down. If you read our recent blog post about self-driving cars then you will know that in the not too distant future cars are predicted to travel without a driver.

Currently Google are working on developing the world’s first driverless car while Apple is working on increasing the connectivity between vehicles.

As a forerunner to the “driverless car”, technology is being developed that will enable cars to “talk to each other”.

So will they be chatting about politics and the weather? No. Instead they will be in constant communication to provide drivers with what is thought to be a much safer driving environment.

Essentially, constant communication will be taking place between vehicles on the road – via signals – so that each vehicle is continually updated about other vehicles that surround it, the actions of other vehicles, and how to respond to these actions.

Already we have plenty of gadgets and technology to help us such as reverse cameras which enable us to see most of what is behind our car and therefore reduce the risk of bumping into anything, whether an object or a pedestrian.

While these have been effective in reducing accidents, they are not completely foolproof as inevitably there are still existing blind spots that are not revealed by even the most technological of reverse cameras.

When cars “talk to each other” short-range technology will mean that vehicles constantly exchange information, at a rate of 10 times / second, about:

  • Location
  • Speed
  • Acceleration
  • Braking

What this means is that in situations where cars are turning onto a narrow side road, which is usually very difficult to gauge for a driver turning into it because they cannot see parked cars or any other waiting hazards, drivers will be warned what is awaiting around the corner so that the risk of a collision is reduced.

Likewise, if the car in front suddenly brakes, it is not up to the driver alone to see it and react in time; the car too will react – sending an immediate signal to the driver telling them to brake.

These processes are known as:

  • LTA: Left Turn Assistant
  • IMA: Intersection Movement Assistant

The first tells drivers not to turn left when another vehicle is travelling in the opposite direction. IMA warns the driver not to enter an intersection if it is likely that they might collide with another vehicle.

Another feature will be that the car will tell the driver how long a green light has until it will turn red[i]. This has been explained as means of reducing traffic congestion as cars will know what speed to travel at to reach a green light; an obvious flaw however, is that it may encourage drivers to drive over the limit in order to get through before they turn red.

There are several other features being talked about such as warnings for:

  • Collisions
  • Blind spots
  • Stop lights
  • Give way
  • If a car several vehicles ahead brakes suddenly

While it might be reported that many of these features will not be available for a number of years to come, at the rate that technology has been travelling it feels as though it will not be long until all of these features are as ordinary as a car radio.

One of the reservations that future buyers might already have about such technology is the price that it will add to a car; surely something as groundbreaking as this would add thousands to the cost?

Apparently not.

According to the National Traffic Safety Administration the addition of the vehicle-to-vehicle transmitters that are necessary for the technology to function would only cost around another $350 in 2020 – just £215 in the UK.

Here at Lynx Automotive we retail car parts including everything from steering angles through to ABS units. Whether you are a mechanic or automotive enthusiast, we have all the part that you need.

 

REFERENCES

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/business/new-era-in-safety-when-cars-talk-to-one-another.html

http://www.voanews.com/content/vehicles-may-soon-be-talking-to-each-other-/1886895.html

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/forget-driverless-vehicles-cars-talking-to-each-other-is-the-next-great-advance-2014-8

http://www.alertdriving.com/home/fleet-alert-magazine/north-america/future-automotive-safety-cars-talk-each-other-prevent-crashes

www.internet-public-library.org