Car2X & C-V2X – connected vehicle pilot projects from the US

Smart cars that communicate with each other or with traffic lights and safety vests − this sounds like a science fiction scenario. Audi is already making it a reality with Car2X and C-V2X technology. Read this article to find out exactly how it works.

06/30/2021 Reading Time: 3 min

Audi engineers are busy working on developing the safest cars in the world. A key factor in this is the Car2X- and the C-V2X technology. It enables multiple possibilities of communication in connected vehicle traffic.

This is how Car2X technology works

Mobile communications technology over cellular networks is permanently installed in the vehicle. Using these channels, the car sends and receives information from other vehicles and from the road infrastructure – for example, from traffic light control centers. This Car2X communication takes place in near-real time. The car identifies itself within the network with its own unique token. The data flows anonymously into the communication network and is stored there for only a short period of time.

This is how the C-V2X technology works

C-V2X is a special kind of Car2X communication. This technology is still relatively new and is based on taking advantage of the 4G/5G mobile communications standards. The abbreviation stands for Cellular-Vehicle-to-X. The “X” is a placeholder – it can stand for various road users, traffic features, or other vehicles and can include traffic lights, crosswalks, road signs, school buses, constructions workers and more. C-V2X transmits data directly to and from the vehicle without traveling over the cellular network.

Here’s how the technologies improve road safety

The display in the cockpit informs drivers when they need to adapt their driving style to a new situation. This could be the case, for instance, if rain freezes on the roads or a construction site is hidden behind a bend. This enables drivers to recognize dangerous situations much earlier and to react appropriately. The technology thus increases the safety of passengers and other street users.

 

This view is shared by various traffic experts. “Car2X has the potential to further reduce the number of serious accidents and traffic fatalities,” explains Andre Seeck, Head of the Vehicle Technology Department at the Federal Highway Research Institute. The ADAC is even calling for this technology to soon be standard in all vehicles in Germany.

This is where Car2X communication already provides considerably more safety today

Alpharetta, Georgia: more protection for schoolchildren

Each year, around 100 schoolchildren are killed in traffic accidents in the United States. Around 25,000 are injured. Audi wants to improve the safety of the most vulnerable street users. This is why Audi is testing communication between its own vehicles and school buses in Georgia, as well as with the warning signs that are commonly found in front of schools in the US. Using C-V2X, the signs become beacons that provide alerts to approaching drivers when they are about to enter school zones during school hours and warn them if they are above the speed limit. School buses will also warn approaching vehicles when students are boarding or exiting the bus. In either case, drivers have enough time to slow down or come to a stop.

Virginia: greater safety for construction workers

A safety vest for construction workers that really lives up to its name – that’s what Audi’s latest project in Virginia is all about. The safety vest is developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and equipped with C-V2X technology. It sends warning signals to drivers approaching the construction site − and informs the construction workers about oncoming vehicles. This makes traffic twice as safe.

Car2X technology – three questions for our Audi expert

Anupam Malhotra von Audi of America berichtet von seinen neuesten Projekten.

Anupam Malhotra von Audi of America berichtet von seinen neuesten Projekten.

In this interview, Anupam Malhotra, Head of Connected Services at Audi of America, tells us more about his current projects.

 

Do projects such as those in Virginia and Georgia have the potential of being implemented globally?

Anupam Malhotra: Yes, absolutely. But this does require the right infrastructure. In our project in Virginia, we are therefore also exploring how private investors can get involved when it comes to implementing the new technology. The goal is that these safety improvements should come with no additional service costs for our customers.

How much interest is there among the customers in this new technology?

Anupam Malhotra: We are regularly approached by Audi drivers who want to know when their city will finally implement Audi’s Car-2X based Traffic Light Information service. Last week alone, I received several e-mail inquiries.

 

No wonder: Traffic Light Information services improve driving behavior at street intersections and lower driver stress levels at the same time. Normally, amber traffic lights, for example, put drivers in a dilemma: should they drive through or brake? With the traffic light information and the countdown to the red light, it is much easier for them to make the right decision.

 

How does Audi ensure data protection with Car2X communication?

Anupam Malhotra: For Audi, data protection has top priority. A good example is networked traffic lights. As soon as a smart car enters an urban area with such traffic lights, the Car-2X system assigns it a token, i.e. a kind of recognition tag. This token is only valid in the city in question. It is therefore not possible to identify the license plate number or vehicle owner.

In the US

26

states

use transport infrastructure with Car-2X TLI technology.

By 2030

600,000

EMS units

likely to be equipped with C-V2X technology.

In Germany, more than

1,250

traffic lights

can communicate with vehicles.

The future of the car: What Car2X will be able to do in the future

Car2X communication will continue to gain importance. Anupam Malhotra believes the following scenarios are realistic in the near future:

 

  • Scenario 1: E-bikes where the technology is built into the frame to warn cyclists of approaching cars − once the technology takes up less space and power, pedestrians will also be able to use C-V2X communication via their smartphones.
  • Scenario 2: In the next step, vehicle manufacturers can integrate a mechanism in the car that intervenes if the driver does not react. For example, the brake system could prevent someone from crossing a red light.

 

The possibilities for Car2X are practically unlimited. For example, the technology can reduce traffic jams and improve the parking situation in major cities by specifically directing smart cars to free spaces. The environment could also benefit from Car2X communication – for example, when snow-clearing services adjust the amount of salt used to the actual volume of traffic.

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