With mobile telecommunications technology and social networking revolutionizing the way people communicate, various automakers, including Audi, GM and Daimler, are looking at ways to looking to improve the communications capabilities of vehicles to allows them to easily exchange information with each other and infrastructure to help improve safety, efficiency and driver convenience. Daimler’s effort, called car-to-X (C2X) has now begun its largest ever field trial with 120 network-linked vehicles hitting the roads in Germany’s Rhine-Main region.
Building on technologies emerging from Daimler’s Network on Wheels (NoW) and Fleetnet projects, the C2X system sees a network link included on each vehicle that not only allows these vehicles to share information with each other, but also with traffic infrastructure, such as traffic lights. This is designed to allow drivers to be alerted to potential traffic hazards on the road ahead to give them more time to slow down or take a detour, while traffic light systems can be triggered according to demand as a way to improve traffic flow. The system can also be used for more mundane tasks, such as providing the best route, based on traffic data, to the nearest car park.
The field trial is being conducted as part of the simTD (Safe Intelligent Mobility – test field Germany) research project, which is a collaboration between German car makers, automotive suppliers, communications companies, research institutes and the public sector. The trial, which will continue until the end of the year, is intended to put the C2X system to the test in real-life traffic conditions to determine its suitability for everyday use.
Through its DRIVE C2X project and its involvement in the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium (C2C CC), the automaker is also looking to standardization of the system so the technology functions across Europe.
Daimler has been conducting field tests on its C2X system since at least 2006, and research on the system is also currently being carried out at the company’s site in Palo Alto, California. Here, vehicles are being fitted with C2X systems and tests conducted to ensure the system can be adapted to meet the particular requirements of the U.S. market.