BMW Group considers forward thinking as a vital factor in the area intelligent driving, which also encompasses energy-efficient and safe driving. This is why BMW Group has installed several sensors on its vehicles -- all designed to improve safety, efficiency and comfort. However, these sensors usually have limited “horizon,” or predictive capability.
BMW plans to significantly extend this horizon through the “Car-to-x” communication platform that would allow drivers to “see” long distances ahead. “Car-to-x” communication also allows drivers to see into areas hidden from view, and around many corners. Car-to-x communication is basically an electronic network of vehicles and roadside infrastructure that could exchange information between road users as well as between road users and roadside infrastructure (like traffic lights).
Interestingly, car-to-x communication is so comprehensive that it allows any road user to participate. Car-to-x communication typically uses WLAN or mobile phone connections to operate. As standard, car-to-x communication currently employs high-speed WLAN networking based on the WLAN IEEE802.11p/ G5A standard, which could allow real-time communication.
This protocol is considered suitable for car-to-x communication as it permits large numbers of participants to communicate simultaneously sans any interference. This direct communication via WLAN is complemented by the use of mobile phone networks, which have seen improvements at a steady rate. Furthermore, mobile phone networks have been improving in terms of bandwidth and latency times.
BMW Group has been working on integrated and connected vehicle functions since the 1990s when it introduced BMW ConnectedDrive, which allows for connectivity for infotainment applications. For the past few years, BMW Group’s r&d work has been increasingly focused on providing integrated and connected comfort as well as safety functions. This is where car-to-x communication comes in.
Extensive connectivity between vehicles should provide ample and advanced warning over potential dangers during a hazard to oncoming and following vehicles. This would allow drivers of these oncoming and following vehicles to respond and react accordingly. However, warnings represent just one aspect in which car-to-x communication could be a new solution.
Car-to-x communication could also cover infrastructure data (like traffic light phases). Drivers can be fed with information that allows them to adapt their driving style to achieve greater efficiency, thus lower vehicle emissions. Therefore, car-to-x communication could provide innovative solutions not just for proactive safety and accident prevention but also in the area of intelligent energy management.
When employed along with existing vehicle sensors, car-to-x communication could serve as a good basis or even improvement for a wide array of future BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance and information systems.
These systems, when used along with driver input, could result to a high-performance macrosystem that could ensure safety and efficiency during a trip. Karl-Ernst Steinberg, Head of Information and Communication Technologies at BMW Group Research and Technology, quipped that the more information a driver has about the rest of the journey – like the changing of traffic lights or an accident along the route – the better and the quicker the reaction is. This should result in less stress to the driver, allowing him or her to avoid hazardous situations or reduce the risk.