Traffic flow: Cooperative systems beat driver assistance

April 04, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The average driver spends about an entire week per year caught up in traffic congestions. Increasingly the vehicles are equipped with electronic systems aiming at keeping the traffic flowing or finding alternative routes. Cooperative systems are better suited for this task, finds Frost & Sullivan.

Cooperative systems include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications; both applications combined are called vehicle-to-x (V2X) communications. One of the core elements of these systems is the cooperative wireless ad-hoc network established between other vehicles and infrastructure, based on a modified version of the WiFi standard which itself has been baptized Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC). Current planning provides for system enhancements based on infrared communications and global satellite navigation systems (GNSS) as well as new solutions based mobile telecommunications networks, in particular LTE. Through these enhancements, V2X is connected to data networks that provide information about accidents, traffic stalls and congestions en route but beyond the reach of DSRC systems - and beyond the capabilities of advanced driver assistance systems since these can only process data provided by their sensors. Cooperative systems hence are more suited to keep the traffic going, says Prana Tharthirahan Natarajan, Transport Team leader for consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

Against this background, Natarajan expects V2X systems to quickly gain acceptance over the years ahead. Among the carmakers, the expert regards Daimler and Volvo as the trailblazers. By 203, more than 40 percent of all vehicles will be equipped with V2X technology - a surprisingly high number given that most likely only new vehicles will be equipped and given longevity of cars already out there on the streets. Natarjans figure would also exceed the threshold of 20 percent required for the system to get off and running (an estimate of Volkswagen's director of electronic architecture, Volkmar Tanneberger).

However, the European market still lacks of an effective business model for V2X, states Frost & Sullivan analyst Neelam Barua. Such as business model needs to identify the parties benefiting form cooperative communications solutions and define a team that holds the responsibility for the technological implementations and the methods of revenue generation. The availability of robust, reliable products which meet the requirements of interoperability, user acceptance, and scalability will