Just imagine if cars and roadside devices could all “talk” to each other. They could communicate things like speed, position, the status of stop lights, etc. among “themselves” and make intelligent traffic decisions. Sounds like science fiction, eh? Well, it’s almost here.

Beginning in 2022, all Ford vehicles will have cellular vehicle-to-other device technology, or C-V2X. C-V2X is a wireless communication technology that can “talk” to and “listen” for similarly equipped vehicles, people and traffic management infrastructure to relay important information.

Planned alongside the rapidly building 5G cellular network, C-V2X enables direct communication between the connected devices, meaning a signal doesn’t need to first travel to a cellular tower, allowing vehicles to quickly send and receive information.

Just imagine

There are many ordinary traffic situations that could optimized with C-V2X. Just imagine:

  • Navigating four-way stops, vehicles will be able to communicate with each other to negotiate which one has the right of way.
  • Road signs could provide advance warning of recent accidents or provide more context regarding road construction, giving drivers the opportunity to reroute or more safely move through work zones.
  • Pedestrians with cell phones could convey their location to other vehicles, ensuring that everyone on the road is aware of people who may be out of sight.
  • Traffic light could send signals alerting drivers about when it will turn green or red, or whether a driver is at risk of running a red light.

The folks at Winner Ford of Dover, DE, who assisted us with this article, explain that the C-V2X will work with the Ford Co-Pilot360™, Ford’s advanced suite of driver-assist and safety features standard on new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks, including F-150, going forward.

Autonomous vehicles

C-V2X is being designed to integrate with the control systems of self-driving or autonomous cars. While these vehicles will be fully capable of operating without C-V2X, the technology could add to its comprehensive view from the LiDAR, radar and camera sensors.

For example, C-V2X emergency vehicles could notify self-driving vehicles that may be on their route so the vehicles pull over. Self-driving vehicles could even get real-time updates on road conditions that affect their routes.

Regulations

Ford acknowledges that a comprehensive regulatory environment must be in place for C-V2X to be effectively deployed. This technology will only live up to its full potential if many vehicles on the road as well as roadside infrastructure take advantage of it. The challenge to building a self-aware traffic communication system may lie in the arrangement of various agencies that regulate and establish rules as much as the technology itself.

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