V2I communication, vehicle to infrastructure communication is a type of V2X communication and so these words aren’t just words, I’ll start there.
Vehicle to Everything Communication
Vehicle to everything is technology that supports transfer of information and data between vehicles and components of the traffic system that could have an effect on the vehicle. Components of a traffic system could include other vehicles, traffic systems and lights and other road users. The thinking behind vehicle to everything communication was aimed at improving road safety and enhancing traffic efficiency. V2X communication is further broken down into more categories-where v2i (vehicle to infrastructure) communication falls under;
Vehicle to pedestrian
Communication is between vehicles and pedestrians.
Vehicle to network
Also called vehicle to cloud communication. It involves accessing the network for cloud-based services.
Vehicle to vehicle
Vehicle to vehicle communication involves the transfer of data between vehicles. Information can be transmitted to and from a distance, less than a kilometer, regardless of presence of barriers like other cars or lack thereof.
Leaving the best for last, the start of the show, vehicle to infrastructure communication;
Vehicle to infrastructure
V2I communication is the wireless exchange of data between vehicles and road infrastructure. Some of the infrastructure installed alongside roads is referred to as roadside units. They may include traffic signs or traffic lights. Exchange of data is facilitated by wireless communication that is bidirectional-goes both ways using v2i communication protocols. A couple of these communication protocols exist like DSRC and C2VX. V2I uses Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) frequencies. This information is sent from elements in the infrastructure to the vehicle, or the other way around, through an ad-hoc network. Vehicle to infrastructure sensors can acquire infrastructural data and provide motorists with real-time advice with key information like road conditions, traffic congestions or any accidents. Not only motorists can make use of v2i (vehicle to infrastructure) communication, traffic management systems can also benefit from it. They can use the data collected from the vehicles and infrastructure alike to set variable speed limits as well as adjust the signal phase and timing to achieve fuel savings and improve traffic flow. It is worth noting that the hardware, software and firmware that go into making V2I communication possible are key to a future of autonomously driven vehicles.
Why We Need V2I Communication
Everything in the world is currently changing to prepare for a much more technologically advanced future and our roads are no different in that regard.
We all look forward to a future of self-driving cars, well some of us at least, and although that dream is already a reality, it is impossible without V2I communication. Making autonomous and safe self-driving cars is entirely dependent on mastering vehicle to infrastructure communication because autonomous cars need to know the upcoming traffic lights state. V2I also makes it possible to point out hazards up ahead as well as optimizing traffic flow.
Accidents are a world leader in taking away precious lives, rivaled perhaps by illness alone and vehicle to infrastructure communication goes a long way in reducing them. Let’s do some math, with V2I communication, it is possible to end nearly 90% of all fatalities from traffic accidents.
We have been around to watch cars and road infrastructure change and develop. A while ago, cruise control was the neatest trick a car could pull-power steering wasn’t even a thing! As we move into more and more automation, onboard vehicle systems will take on more and more responsibility and to manage this, V2I is needed.
V2I provides immense value in general traffic control and efficiency that could go a long way in avoiding traffic snarl ups-bye bye late meetings. Even better, emergency vehicles can better navigate the roads and arrive faster to save lives. More to traffic efficiency, public transport can be prioritized when approaching traffic lights.
Onto the v2I communication protocol of choice;
Dedicated Short Range Communication
There exist two communication protocols; DSRC and CV2X but as I had mentioned, V2I uses DSRC.
DSRC works by linking two senders in close proximity and lets the magic of data exchange happen without paying any attention to the device being used. The fact that no specific device is needed to facilitate communication makes it perfect for under-developed areas. DSRC is optimized for cost and simplicity originating from WIFI unlike CV2X which uses LTE technology.
On a technical level, DSRC operates in short range across typical distances of 300 meters running in the unlicensed 5.9 GHZ band.
DSRC is not usually affected by weather conditions when transmitting so come rain, come shine it will work anyway. This particular fact makes it suitable for safety notifications.