Between beep-beeps and honks: (Mis)communication in a Car2X environment

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In the last 10 years, gadgets are becoming smarter and smarter. Gadgets, appliances and machines are designed to give you as much information as possible in order to make your everyday tasks easier, so you can focus on more important things. Think of your smartphone and think of your car. Through your smartphone, a multitude of information is accessible to you wherever you go. Traveling to somewhere new and you don’t know where’s the nearest restaurant? No problem, your phone has an answer to that. Travelling on an unknown road and you don’t know what to expect around the corner? Don’t worry, your car knows. But the question is: how?

What is IoT?

Devices are inherently dumb until connected to a data source and given the functionality to use that data. Putting it bluntly: any object can achieve a level of digital intelligence if it can be be connected to and controlled via internet, where it collects and shares data. This allows the devices to communicate among one another without human involvement, thus bridging the gap between the digital and the physical world.

With technical advances and the emergence of self-driving cars, more and more vehicles can be given an IoT device label. Connecting vehicles with external devices, other vehicles and even whole cities creates a unique communication network, where cars collect and share valuable information about the environment they’re in. In essence, cars are utilizing communication with other devices and their environment with the goal of keeping drivers informed.

So…cars communicate with everything.

In short – yes. Cars are taking a social turn by being closely connected to other devices and their environment. Cars connect with objects (hence the name Car2x) – with devices, other cars and infrastructure around them – via available network technologies such as cellular network or wireless local area networks. In practice this means that your car can collect relevant data seamlessly anywhere and anytime, thus helping you stay informed about what’s going on around you.

Source: Mercedes-Benz.

Imagine your car “asking” the traffic light how long the green light interval will stay on. Based on the traffic light’s response, the car can tell you whether or not to speed up or prepare yourself for slowing down to a stop. This removes the element of surprise when the light unexpectedly changes and you might brake too quickly, thus endangering the driver behind you. Cars communicate with their surroundings so the driver doesn’t have to. That way, he or she can stay focused on his or her driving, thus increasing road safety.

Cars and Iot – why should we care?

Collected and shared data can be used in various scenarios – everything from increasing road safety, ensuring smooth traffic flow, avoiding accidents, planning routes, understanding the environmental impact of heavy traffic or even opening new advertising possibilities for road-side businesses. But, safety first.

Cars communicate with other cars and traffic infrastructure. This way they can see (and even predict) hazardous situations before a driver could. After all, we are only human and there’s a limited amount of information we can process at a time. All the gathered traffic information helps warn the driver and other road users to pay attention and react in good time.

Avoiding traffic accidents by adjusting your driving behavior based on environmental information is just one side of the coin. By predicting the traffic situation and adjusting your driving can lead to less breaking, which allows you not to only drive more safely and  efficiently, but also environmentally friendly.

Technical advances strive to change human lives for the better, and the next big industry turning point is coming from the automotive industry.

All is fine, but can cars be trusted?

The next generation step in the automotive industry is autonomous driving. Cars are taking a social turn – each car has to update its status in the “car network”, so other cars in its area can plan accordingly. The fundamental point of Car2X communication is to counteract driver mistakes and in its more advanced stages – even prevent them. That is putting a lot of trust into technology that is so heavily dependent on wireless data transmission among a large number of different sources and receivers.

The majority of solutions are basing Car2X communication on nodes and sensors found in vehicles and nearby traffic infrastructure. In this case, completely eliminating the driver’s need to control a car is dangerous, since the sensors can see what the human eye sees.

…and here’s where Carco comes in

Sure, your phone is smart and your car is smart. But do you trust the information they gather? At Carco, we’re bringing the driver back into the Car2x communication scheme. And here’s how we do it.

We’re offering a driver-oriented app that allows you to communicate with nearby drivers. No need to know their name, number, email or username on any existing social platforms. You just need to see their car brand and car color. It’s simple as that. With Carco, you can message nearby drivers and see, what’s going on on the road ahead. Getting real-time traffic information has never been so easy. Plus – you might just meet someone new.

Conclusion

Carco bridges the gap between IoT devices, Car2x and humans by giving drivers the ability to collect all data that your phone and car don’t. Predicting scenarios on the road has become an important issue for safety and traffic efficiency. Autonomous cars will play an important role in modern transportation systems and smart-city design, but additional driver decisions will still be the last, and most important safety net on the road. Stay informed, stay safe and enjoy your time on the road – with Carco.


Sources:

Cupler, Justin. 2012. Mercedes brings car to car to object communication to the us for testing. Top Speed. Accessible at: https://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/mercedes-brings-car-to-car-to-object-communication-to-the-us-for-testing-ar133484.html (10th December 2018)

IAV Automotive Engineering. 2018. Car2x. Accessible at: https://www.iav.com/us/engineering/mobility/car2x?r=en&n=9958 (10th December 2018).

Schweppe, Hendrik, Yves Roudier, Benjamin Weyl, Ludovic Apvrille, and Dirk Scheuermann. 2011. Car2X Communication: Securing the Last Meter. In 2011 IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC Fall).

Ranger, Steve. 2018.What is the IoT? Everything you need to know about the Internet of Things right now. ZDnet.  Accessible at: https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-the-internet-of-things-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-iot-right-now/ (10th December 2018).

Yadav, Neha, Maudhoo Jahnavi and Krishanu Griyagya. 2018. Vehicle to Vehicle Communication for Collision Avoidance. In International Journal of Advanced Trends in Engineering and Technology 3 (11): 156-8.

Zhang, Linjun and Gabor Orosz. 2018. Beyond-Line-of-Sight Identification by Using Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication. In IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems 19 (6): 1962-72.

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