Imagine a world where cars could talk to each other. It’s closer than you think. In April this year, the Federal Communications Commission gave the go-ahead for auto manufacturers to use a section of the radio frequencies, or spectrum, to help vehicles talk to each other.
They had actually reserved 5.9GHz of spectrum with this sort of thing in mind back in 1999 but had allocated it to a technology that is now pretty much defunct. So manufacturers and others hoping to implement newer technology had to file for permission to use the bandwidth. In the meantime, a significant chunk of the block had already been reallocated to the mobile industry to support the spread of Wi-Fi.
How will cars talk to each other?
The technology that manufacturers and other interested parties hope to use is known as C-V2X, which stands for Cellular Vehicle to Everything.
Not only will vehicles be able to talk to each other (V2V), but they will be able to communicate with infrastructure (V2I), such as traffic signals and warning signs. They’ll even be able to communicate with pedestrians and cyclists (V2P).
Why do we need this?
The technology has the power to vastly increase safety for all road users. Until now, so much has depended on people’s ability to look out for others. Yet drivers and other road users often don’t see the thing they need to see until it is too late. Distraction, drunkenness, poor eyesight, darkness, blind bends, fog, overgrown roadside bushes and more can all prevent people from seeing clearly.
This technology will tell people what they should be seeing and it will do so early. It can alert a driver to a pedestrian crossing the road around the corner so they know to slow down, and it can alert the pedestrian of the approaching car so they know to speed up or step back onto the curb.
Once this technology rolls out, it should vastly reduce the number of people injured or killed in car crashes. Until then, learning how to claim compensation will remain relevant for thousands of people every year.