No longer Science Fiction.
What would it be like if you could see past the next bend in the road to the bend after and even farther? You could adjust your driving behaviour and defuse dangerous situations. You would not have to brake so much and could drive more efficiently. Mercedes-Benz seeks to realise this vision of tomorrow’s intelligent mobility with a revolutionary technology which enhances safety, comfort and efficiency even further. As the first motor vehicle manufacturer in the world, the brand with the star will be presenting Car-to-X communication in production vehicles by the end of this year. This will reaffirm the Stuttgart-based group’s standing as a pioneer in the field of safety. The sophisticated technology establishes networked links among vehicles and between vehicles and the traffic infrastructure.
The vehicle thus “sees” hazards before they are perceived by the driver, and warns the driver and other road users in good time. How Car-to-X communication works is explained by the head of Car-to-X development, Dr. Christian Weiss.
Expressed in simple terms, Car-to-X communication is the “radio-based exchange of information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and traffic infrastructure,” declares Dr. Christian Weiss, responsible for Car-to-X communication at Mercedes-Benz Development. “This has the advantage that we are also able to obtain information from points far outside the driver’s field of vision, which is not the case with conventional sensors.” This information provides the basis for a number of new assistance functions which complement the existing systems. “Car-to-X communication helps us let the driver know of hazardous situations early on.
For example, we can warn of wrong-way drivers, but also of the end of a tailback which we are approaching; we can warn of emergency vehicles approaching from behind, or from the side, for example in a junction.” The safety network originates from a simple principle: every vehicle with Car-to-X technology can simultaneously and autonomously receive and send warnings.
Efficient mobility through communication.
When the vehicle receives a hazard warning, the technology compares the vehicle’s position with the location of the hazard, says Dr. Christian Weiss, explaining the way the warning works. As soon as the vehicle approaches the danger spot, the driver is audibly and visually warned. This enables the driver to prepare for the situation, adjust his or her driving behaviour and avoid accidents. Networking makes traffic not only safer, but more efficient as well, the Mercedes-Benzdevelopment engineer explains. Because when accidents are avoided, no traffic back-up occurs and traffic flows more freely and efficiently. Car-to-X communication can contribute to efficient mobility also by networking with the traffic infrastructure, for example traffic lights.
Car-to-X: a joint project.
In order to realise the future vision of safe and efficient mobility, developers are seeking to cooperate with other vehicle manufacturers. “Very clearly, the aim is to have the entire automotive industry jointly pursue Car-to-X communication.” The tighter the information network, the more effective the technology will be. The engineers do not want to wait too long before they introduce this intelligent networking, the developer reports. “We are getting started on Car-to-X communication at the end of this year with the so-called Drive Kit Plus, with which we integrate the customer iPhone in the vehicle architecture.
With this Drive Kit Plus we can make Car-to-X communication available in virtually all model series.” In addition, almost all existing vehicles can be retrofitted with Car-to-X communication.