Fleet News

Talking cars on way

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) – where cars silently talk to each other about traffic conditions further down the road – is on the way, and fleet users will be among the first to benefit from the technology.

That is the view of bosses at General Motors, which encompasses Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet in the UK, which has revealed details of its V2V system for the first time.

The pioneering system, which promises to reduce accident rates and cut journey times, is being investigated by GM as part of four-year trial in Germany from the autumn.

GM is working alongside the other German car companies to investigate how best to bring the technology to market.

V2V works using satellite-navigation and wireless Local Area Network (LAN) technology that is standard in most new home computers.

The information is transferred in milliseconds and each car has a communication range of up to 500 metres.

It allows cars fitted with the system to transmit information to each other about road conditions and hazards they have experienced on their journeys and warn drivers about them.

This could be anything from road works to emergency vehicles in the road to a traffic jam. The system would then alert the driver so they can take the necessary action – either stopping in plenty of time to avoid an accident or re-routing to avoid sitting in traffic.

Bruno Praunsmändel, GM Europe’s group manager for advanced engineering, explained: “Fleet drivers are our first potential customers, and we would approach them to get high initial penetration. It would be great to have public authority vehicles and police cars involved because they’re always on the road.”

Most major carmakers are working on V2V and to a set of basic rules so future cars will all be speaking the same language.

But Mr Praunsmändel admits that V2V will only work efficiently when the vast majority of vehicles have it, adding: “With safety-critical technology like this, you need more than 90% of vehicles involved to see some impact on the accident statistics.”

He believes that if all carmakers started now, it would be 10 years before that occurred.

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