Toyota Explains Safety Gains in Cars-Roads Wireless Communication

Every automaker wants to make its cars safer and easier to drive, fitting them with all sorts of electronic nannies that do much of the driver's work. Ten or twenty years from now, you'll probably just hop in the car, enter the destination and simply wait to arrive there, but on-board systems won't solve all the needs to automate road transportation. Toyota, however, comes with a possible solution – make cars and roads communicate with each other.
Toyota vehicle to vehicle communication 1 photo
Photo: Toyota
Hideki Hada has worked in the automotive industry since 1989, putting much of his time and work into road safety. In 2004, he joined Toyota Technical Center (TTC) and continued to find solutions for making road traveling safer and more efficient. And that's how he came up with the road-cars wireless communication system.

Hada-san recognize that many accidents occur in heavy traffic areas and that's why his system is mainly aimed towards creating a better flow. The patented system is known as Vehicle Speed Indication using Vehicle-Infrastructure and works by dynamically adjusting posted speed limits on highways via vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

“Cars transmit their actual traveling speed to highway infrastructure via Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC). The highway infrastructure management system collects that data and calculates an optimal traveling speed of vehicles on that highway based on the traffic condition in the area," explained Hada. "This optimal traveling speed is sent to vehicles again using DSRC wireless communication.  By these vehicles following this suggested traveling speed, the flow on the highway is improved (smoother, no congestion).”

To better understand this, imagine there's a congestion 5 miles down the road. The infrastructure system will notice this because the vehicles ahead are going much slower or even crawl to a stop and it will tell approaching cars to adjust and maintain a lower speed. This way, drivers will know something is ahead and they will also prevent worsening the congestion.

Of course, the system will work for bad weather and poor visibility conditions too. It will notify drivers to slow down or even stop if a crash happens, although the system's target is to not let that happen.

Hideki said both automakers and the government are working together to bring the vehicle-infrastructure wireless communication technology in the US (i.e. 5.9Ghz DSRC).

Toyota already tested the technology and proven its feasibility at its Ann Arbor campus, but this is not a one man project and in order to work, all major automakers need to implement the feature into their vehicles. So don't expect to see the system in action in the next couple of years.
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