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What is vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication)?

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication) is the wireless transmission of data between motor vehicles.

The goal of V2V communication is to prevent accidents by allowing vehicles in transit to send position and speed data to one another over an ad hoc mesh network. Depending upon how the technology is implemented, the vehicle’s driver may simply receive a warning should there be a risk of an accident or the vehicle itself may take preemptive actions such as braking to slow down.

V2V communication is expected to be more effective than current automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) embedded systems for lane departure, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, rear parking sonar and backup camera because V2V technology enables an ubiquitous 360-degree awareness of surrounding threats. V2V communication is part of the growing trend towards pervasive computing, a concept known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

In the United States, V2V is an important part of the intelligent transport system (ITS), a concept that is being sponsored by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An intelligent transport system will use the data from vehicle-to-vehicle communication to improve traffic management by allowing vehicles to also communicate with roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights and signs. The technology could become mandatory in the not-too-distant future and help put driverless-cars on highways across America.

The implementation of V2V communication and an intelligent transport system currently has three major roadblocks: the need for automotive manufacturers to agree upon standards, data privacy concerns and funding. As of this writing it is unclear whether creation and maintenance of the supporting network would be publicly or privately funded. Automotive manufacturers working on ITS and V2V include GM, BMW, Audi, Daimler and Volvo.

This was last updated in October 2014

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V2V: What are vehicle-to-vehicle communications and how do they work?

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Vehicle-to-vehicle communications moved one step closer to reality this week with the Obama administration’s plans to push the technology forward. The February 3rd announcement outlines a set of proposed rules would be announced for comment by the time this administration departs in 2017, with hopes that sometime around 2020, cars will communicate with each other and alert drivers to roadside hazards ahead. What happened this week was a plan by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have a plan.

Simply put, the first generation of V2V systems would warn the driver but not take control of the car. Later implementations would improve to brake or steer around obstacles and eventually merge with self-driving cars. Here’s our rundown of V2V technologies and some of the implications…


What is V2V?

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications comprises a wireless network where automobiles send messages to each other with information about what they’re doing. This data would include speed, location, direction of travel, braking, and loss of stability. Vehicle-to-vehicle technology uses dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), a standard set forth by bodies like FCC and ISO. Sometimes it’s described as being a WiFi network because one of the possible frequencies is 5.9GHz, which is used by WiFi, but it’s more accurate to say “WiFi-like.” The range is up to 300 meters or 1000 feet or about 10 seconds at highway speeds (not 3 seconds as some reports say).

V2V would be a mesh network, meaning every node (car, smart traffic signal, etc.) could send, capture and retransmit signals. Five to 10 hops on the network would gather traffic conditions a mile ahead. That’s enough time for even the most distracted driver to take his foot off the gas.

On the first cars, V2V warnings might come to the driver as an alert, perhaps a red light that flashes in the instrument panel, or an amber then red alert for escalating problems. It might indicate the direction of the threat. All that is fluid for now since V2V is still a concept with several thousand working prototypes or retrofitted test cars. Most of the prototypes have advanced to stage where the cars brake and sometimes steer around hazards. Why? It’s more exciting for a legislator or journalist to see a car that stops or swerves, not one with a flashing lamp.

Traffic signals or other stationary devices are called V2I, or vehicle to infrastructure. Often they’re just rolled into the V2V umbrella to avoid too many TLAs (three-letter acronyms). Some automakers have their own terms for V2V such as Car-to-X, which encompasses other vehicles and the infrastructure. There’s also a push for the term “internet of cars” playing off “internet of things” as well as the broader term “connected car” which covers telematics as well and the popular-press term “talking car.” V2V seems to be the phrase that’s winning out.

Next page: Not a self-driving car… yet


What’s Next? V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) Communication With Connected Cars

There’s plenty of buzz around the connected car these days. The reason? The cloud.

There is a common refrain heard from nearly everyone gathered in Detroit to attend the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems this week: Connected cars will be the ultimate Internet of Things. They will collect and make sense of massive amounts of data from a huge array of sources. Cars will talk to other cars, exchanging data and alerting drivers to potential collisions. They’ll talk to sensors on signs on stoplights, bus stops, even ones embedded in the roads to get traffic updates and rerouting alerts. And they’ll communicate with your house, office, and smart devices, acting as an digital assistant, gathering information you need to go about your day. 

To do all that, they need the cloud. Because connected cars need data. Lots of data. Automobiles today are already packed with an impressive amount of processing power, because some 100 million lines of software code help run the typical luxury vehicle. But as connected cars before were sophisticated rolling wired devices, the amount of information flowing back and forth from them will skyrocket. And so they will demand for the cloud’s scalability and storage capabilities.  

The cloud also provides sophisticated processing and analytical capabilities. The cloud is the central hub where all of this quickly changing, far-flung information will pass through. It will provide the platform for making sense of this data. And the cloud is also the home for building and developing the apps and programs used by cars on the road.

What does that add up to practically? A car linked to the cloud, tapping into your apps, devices, and preferences will tailor the driving experience to you. When you’re getting ready to go out in the morning, your car will link to the cloud and check the weather, your to-do list from your calendar, and the traffic to help you plan your route for the day, rerouting you when you’re on your way if you get behind schedule or run into traffic. Or a rental car would recognize you when you slip into the driver’s seat and automatically adjusts to your preferences — changing the mirrors, giving you an update from your calendar of your schedule, and lining up your iTunes playlist.

Connected cars, meantime, will help cities and states cut down on congestion and improve safety. On the road, cars will talk to each other, automatically transmitting data such as speed, position, and direction, and send alerts to each other if a crash seems imminent. This future of vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V communication, is already in the works, with the U.S. Department of Transportation announcing early this year that it plans to start taking steps to enable V2V communication.

At the same time, communities are mapping out ways to put connected cars at the center of more energy efficient, smarter traffic management systems. IBM conducted a smarter traffic pilot with the Dutch city of Eindhoven, demonstrating how the connected car automatically shares