Europe's top six car manufacturers - Audi, BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Renault and Volkswagen - have combined forces in the so called 'Car-2-Car Communication Consortium' (C2C CC).
One aim of this body is to develop a Europe-wide open industry standard for communications from car to car and between vehicles and infrastructure facilities. Beyond that, the C2C CC plans to push for the allocation of the requisite radio frequency to enable this, as well as developing and testing suitable radio communication systems.
With the aid of car-to-car communications, the selective forwarding of information helps to optimize traffic flow and appreciably enhances traffic safety.
Here's an example: if a vehicle encounters a critical situation such as congestion, fog, ice or an accident, it passes the relevant information on to all affected road users in the immediate vicinity of the danger spot. Traffic approaching from further away is given ample warning and can respond to the situation.
In this spontaneous information network, each vehicle can take on the role of a sender, receiver or router. It allows a chain of information to be built up, rather like a relay race. With the aid of this process, known as multi-hopping, information can be spread further afield to cover a substantial distance.
The data exchange between vehicles is made possible by ad-hoc networks. These short-distance connections are spontaneously created between the vehicles as the need arises and can organize themselves without the help of any external infrastructure. The technology is based on wireless LAN.
The efficiency of car-to-car communications increases with the number of vehicles on the market which feature the requisite equipment. Independently of this, the technology can also be used for communications between vehicles and external infrastructures. Possible deployment scenarios include wireless fault diagnosis and downloading digital maps.
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