Vehicles learn to communicate with each other and with the environment. That makes our streets safer, more efficient and also more sustainable.
The cars of the future will communicate with repair shops, insurance companies, traffic lights, and with each other. Car-to-car (C2C) or car-to-x communication (C2X) is the automotive hype that aims to improve traffic efficiency, safety, and convenience. The technology extends the current vehicle sensor technology with features such as radar and camera systems. In combination with advanced driver assistance systems, they will be able to inform drivers about hindrances, when cars in front are braking, and the general traffic situation.
Intelligent traffic lights (we have already reported about these) will share data with vehicles to prevent traffic congestion. Enormous potential if you consider fuel savings and the costs of lost working hours – about €17 billion per year. The number of accidents and environmental impacts could also be reduced.
Field tests confirm suitability for everyday use
All car manufacturers are talking about it, but Daimler is the only one so far to begin putting it into practice. For example, the Stuttgart-based car-to-x pioneer has overall responsibility for the simTD project (safe intelligent mobility test field Germany) in which suitability for daily use was first tested under actual conditions in 2012.
Another large-scale field test, the European DRIVE C2X project, was recently concluded. This involved testing car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure technologies under real conditions in Europe – on public roads and on controlled test tracks. European harmonization and standardization of the communication systems with consideration of future market launches was also investigated in the project.
In other words, quite a few things are happening to get cars “networked”. The question is whether drivers really want it.
Having yes, paying no
Most drivers have nothing against the “automotive” networking of their vehicles but they are not prepared to pay for it. At least, that was the key result of the Consumer Connected Vehicle Study 2013 conducted by market research company IDC. According to IDC, there is a lack of “appreciation” for networked services. However, it should be possible to control the radio, Internet, and navigation in cars using a smart phone.
“Trendanalyse: Vernetztes Fahrzeug 2015” (Trend analysis: networked vehicles 2015) from Mbtech also came to a similar conclusion: mobility information, commercial use of services in the B2B area and infotainment are on the wish list but not on the shopping list.
Regardless of the willingness to pay, car-to-x systems are scheduled to come on to the market in Europe and North America next year. However, experts reckon with a delay of one to two years. According to Frost & Sullivan, about 40 percent of all vehicles in Europe will be equipped with car-2-car communication systems by 2030. Introduction of the eCall emergency call system from 2015 and services such as congestion and accident alerts could make the systems more popular.
On the other hand, the idea that data from car-to-x systems should be used for ratings by insurance companies has not gone down particularly well. But not only for data protection reasons. According to a Bitkom survey, the complexity and the low savings are the main reasons for the objections. The results of the Capgemini study “Cars online 2014” indicate that data sharing between vehicles, drivers, manufacturers, and dealerships is less popular with German consumers than in the rest of the world. Of course, manufacturers and dealerships see the situation differently. The use of big data enables individualized offers and additional sales revenue through data-driven business models and in the after sales area.