Twenty years ago, the idea of a vehicle with communication capabilities was the stuff of sci-fi and horror novels. Today, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication is slowly gaining more ground in becoming a reality. V2V communication is the line of information exchange between car to driver, car to car, and car to network. Though it may seem like a sudden leap into a world akin to that of George Jetson’s, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has been researching, engineering, and testing the capabilities of V2V communication for nearly a decade. So what’s all the fuss about? How does V2V communication work, what does it cost, and when will the public get to see the launch of this new technology?

v-to-v-tech

What V2V Communication Is

The August 2014 report Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications: Readiness of V2V Technology for Application compiled by the Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the V2V capable automobiles will house a “vehicle-resident,” which is a mesh of technologies designed to assist in crash avoidance, serving as an early warning indicator of possible impending hazards. In essence, the hardware includes an on-board short-range radio communication device that transmits info about a vehicle’s direction, speed, brakes, and more, and can receive the same kind of information from these various sources. Essentially, it informs the driver of what is behind the wall and around the bend before a visual line of sight is able to recognize.

How V2V Communication Works

Since the gist of the V2V communication concept is that cars will be able to “talk” to their respective drivers with the intention of improving safety and preventing accidents. In order to do so, the design aims to allow these vehicles to view the big picture, meaning the other cars on the roads, stoplights, road conditions, bus schedules, weather changes, and other factors that contribute to the potential hazards of travel. (2) These communicative cars will come equipped with sensors that can exchange and collect data, and then analyze these large amounts of data from these numerous information sources, thus resulting in alerting drivers of would-be collisions.

The first generation V2V vehicles, expected to premier in 2017, will not be robotically controlled, meaning that the network of intelligence collectors, or “vehicle resident,” cannot seize control of the car. In later generations (those manufactured in 2020 and onward) the artificial intelligence operator will possess the capability to captain the ship. This means features like self parking and eventually communication with your other smart devices, your house and office will be possible.

What V2V Communication Will Cost

Initial estimates by the NHTSA indicate that first and second generation V2V equipment, along with the necessary supporting communication functions will run about $340 to $350 per vehicle, but the NHTSA also speculates that these initial prices will drop to around $210 to $235 30 years after being on the market. Estimates for yearly costs of manufacturing such equipment are in the range of $300 million to more than $2 billion in the year 2020. The costs are expected to peak at $1 billion to $6.4 billion in the years between 2022 and 2024, but will slide down to the $1 billion to $5 billion range is the years after.

In short, what was once only conceivable in the realm of imagination will be rolling off the racks in 2017, or rather, will roll itself off the racks onto a potentially safer road.

~ Jiro