Vodafone Group is trialling new technology for vehicle-to-vehicle communication (called LTE-V2X), with the goal of improving road safety and efficiency.
In a blog post, the operator said it had already completed initial validation of the technology on a private test track in the UK, and it is now developing plans to trial it in the German market.
It is based on an extension to 4G standards, to “ensure safe, reliable communications while making the most efficient use of radio spectrum”. It will also “support a smooth transition to 5G” when the time comes.
The technology is part of the “Intelligent Transportation System” (ITS) aspiration, which will see vehicles more aware of their immediate and surrounding environment and enable better vehicle safety and congestion management, said the operator.
A car using ITS, for example, will be able to tell other cars on the road of its intention to change lane, or emergency stop, as well as drive at an optimal speed to avoid traffic congestion.
“Achieving communication between vehicles and infrastructure is an important step that will lead to full automation of cars after 2020,” said the blog post authors, David Lister, 5G research manager, and Bob Banks, R&D program manager at Vodafone.
“While some of the features in new cars such as automatic braking, lane tracking and blind spot warning already help to reduce crashes, they depend on sensors within the vehicle which have a limited range.”