A milestone on the way to the automotive future has been reached at the testing grounds in Dudenhofen, Germany. For the first time, several vehicle manufacturers jointly presented their latest developments in "Car-2-Car" communication using real vehicles. Volkswagen demonstrated tomorrow's technology in a Passat Variant TDI as well as a Golf GTI.
Research in "Car-2-Car" communication is being conducted to define a universal standard for communication between vehicles, as sharing information is expected to yield great improvements in road safety. For example, if a vehicle encounters adverse conditions, such as a traffic jam, fog, an icy road surface or an accident, it will transmit this information to all potentially affected vehicles in the area. Approaching traffic is alerted, allowing drivers to adjust their driving to the upcoming situation.
In the tests at the proving grounds in Dudehofen, the Passat and the Golf acted as a sender, receiver and transmitter. `Ad-hoc networks' based on wireless LAN technology exchanged data between the vehicles. The following situations were simulated in the demonstration: motorcycle at an intersection, stationary vehicle, construction site and police car in action. Data access was provided by a `CarGate' which creates an abstract of the vehicle data, thus allowing simple access to a multitude of information such as road speed, engine speed, wheel speeds or status of the hazard flashers.
Whether we feel this sort of information is an unwelcome intrusion into our privacy or a valuable safety aid, several car manufacturers are developing a joint system in an unprecedented cooperation, allowing all cars to talk to one another. Honda has even successfully tested a motorcycle version.
With these initial tests underway, we can expect to see car-2-car communications available to the public within the next few years.