V2X-enabled vehicles and traffic lights will both know “kilometers ahead of time” what’s coming down the pike, Sakamoto said. In turn, this will ensure intersection safety, ease traffic congestion and enhance fuel economy.
With the DSRC wireless technology enabling reliable communication between moving vehicles and fixed wireless infrastructure, cars will be able to alert drivers of upcoming congestion, construction, road conditions, or emergency vehicles. Cars could respond to a sudden slowdown by braking automatically.
Sunnyvale’s Transportation Division hopes to apply data exchanged between vehicles and road-side units to enhance the operation of traffic light intersections. Cars subject to fewer start-and-stop operations consume less fuel. V2X could lead to as much as a 15 percent savings in fuel consumption, according to the DoT.
V2X and autonomous cars
But how will V2X help autonomous cars? Sakamoto acknowledged that automakers already have technologies like “lidars and image sensors” deployed in self-driving cars. However, “Neither can actually see beyond the visual range,” he said. If a driver is not seeing it or paying attention to something, lidars or image sensors aren’t seeing it either, he said.
Although DSRC sometimes gets a bad rap as “more than a 10-year-old technology,” Savari appears to have developed new IPs that might give it a fresh twist.
Savari’s Sakamoto commented, “We didn’t invent DSRC radio, but we have developed a unique way of using DSRC data and processing it as a sensor. It results in actionable information.”
Savari, for example, claims that the company designed a DSRC-based technology that offers location data much more precise than GPS. “GPS offers location accuracy of several meters. We can currently reduce that to 1.5 meters,” said Sakamoto.
Through a similar mechanism used by a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), Sakamoto said that Savari can eventually attain centimetre accuracy in its location information.
Savari also understands individual cars’ history (collected via V2X). When a thousand cars are stuck in congested area, Savari can filter the information down to the several most safety-critical cars in the jam, explained Sakamoto. “We’ve developed our own filtering algorithms.”