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German auto giant Volkswagen (VW) unveiled the latest generation of its popular Golf compact passenger car with a host of new technologies, according to Automotive News. Among the car’s new features is vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology, called Car2X. The Golf, the most popular passenger vehicle in Europe, will be the manufacturer’s first model to boast the technology.
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Car2X uses WLANp, a communication standard similar to Wi-Fi, to allow vehicles to communicate information between other vehicles and their environment. The technology will enable eligible Golf models to communicate road hazards or incidents with other Car2X-enabled vehicles or sensors within half a mile. For instance, cars can communicate instances of sudden braking ahead.
VW isn’t the first to implement inter-vehicle communication, as automakers around the world are implementing V2V technology, though they’re taking varying paths to do so. Beginning in 2015, Volvo partnered with regulators to test a limited number of Volvo 90 Series vehicles in Sweden and Norway equipped with cloud-based systems that enable the cars to communicate potential hazards.
In April 2019, Volvo announced that the systems would be available in its full 2020 vehicle lineup in Europe. Meanwhile, in the US, automaker Cadillac has introducedV2V technology its models, but they can only communicate with other Cadillacs.
By deploying Car2X technology in the Golf, VW is likely attempting to build its case for making Car2X the preferred standard of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication. VW is a member of the Communication Network Vehicle Road Global Extension (CONVERGE) group, which is attempting to shape regulations and define an architecture for Car2X.
While VW isn’t the sole automaker in CONVERGE — BMW and Opel are members too — Car2X still needs more buy-in from other automakers and cities to avoid fragmentation in standards for supporting vehicle communication infrastructure. This is especially key as regulators in the US and Europe are beginning to establish their preferred methods for V2X communications, though neither have come to a definitive conclusion — the European Commission has so far rejected legislation that would implement a Wi-Fi-based solution over cellular solutions, while US regulators have yet to mandate a standard.
VW’s move to expand its V2V tech is a promising step, but it won’t provide meaningful value for consumers or automakers until a significant number of cars on the road boast V2V capabilities. By introducing Car2X on a mass-market vehicle model, VW is likely aiming to make it appealing for connected infrastructure manufacturers to develop for as they chase a growing opportunity — the global V2X market is expected to reach $110 billion by 2026, up from $38 billion in 2018. If the company is able to secure a large developer network, it can more easily lure other automakers to use Car2X.
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