V2x technology is one of the most talked-about and most promising technologies in road travel. Implemented successfully, it could have far-reaching implications on road safety, the success of driverless cars, and the efficient use of energy for vehicles.
This technology is still in its early stages but its implementation is already underway in various locations around the world. Local jurisdictions are partnering with v2x communication providers to gradually implement v2x products in pilot projects. Vehicle manufacturers are also incorporating v2x products in vehicles.
We are still a long way from fully autonomous vehicles but the adoption of v2x technology is getting us closer.
Of the many v2x technologies that can be implemented, smart intersection technology has come to the fore. Intersections are a leading location of accidents on roads. They are usually busy and with many moving entities such as pedestrians and vehicles, accidents and collisions are a common occurrence.
Making an intersection smart can have numerous advantages. These include increased safety at the intersection and better traffic flow.
How a Smart Intersection Works
To make an intersection smart, it is equipped with various sensory and communication devices. The sensors can include normal but high-definition cameras as well as LiDAR, Radar, and thermo-sensors. The communication devices enable the intersection to communicate with surrounding vehicles, usually through Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC)
An important thing to note is that for the most part, the benefits of smart intersections apply to vehicles that are equipped with v2x technology. For example, such a vehicle can receive a vulnerable road user alert about a pedestrian.
However, some advantages that come with such intersections apply to the entire ecosystem. For example, based on the data collected and analyzed at an intersection, traffic lights can be optimized for emergency vehicles or for improved traffic flow.
Typically, the intersection collects data from multiple sensors. It then analyzes this data. Insights derived from this analysis are used to communicate with drivers, for example by sending out alerts, and making optimizations at the system level, such as traffic light adjustments.
The communication sent to vehicles helps drivers make better decisions, primarily regarding safety. This can result in fewer collisions and fewer accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
Features That Come With Upgraded Intersections
Stop Sign Assist
With this feature, the intersection assists drivers decide when to proceed onto a road after stopping at a stop sign. It is especially useful when joining high-speed roads and results in improved safety for both that vehicle and other vehicles using the road.
Traffic Signal Adaptation
This is used to detect dangerous situations arising from the violation of traffic lights. In some cases, running a red light can result in a chain of accidents. With smart intersection technology, when a driver runs a red light and a potentially dangerous situation is detected, red lights are triggered in all directions.
This helps avert a chain of accidents.
Violation Warning System
This feature communicates the status of traffic lights to approaching vehicles using DSRC technology. Further, it uses the geospatial position of the vehicle – in addition to its speed – to determine the likelihood of a traffic light violation. If the likelihood is high, the driver is alerted.
This system uses two parameters.
Signal phase and timing informs approaching vehicles of traffic light status and the time remaining to get to the intersection.
Geometric intersection description provides geospatial information about the intersection, including reference points.
Left Turn Assist
This feature analyzes information about oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles to help a driver make safe maneuvers at an intersection. It builds on other features like the violation warning system.
Advantages of Turning Intersections Smart
Reduced Accidents and Fatalities
One of the biggest advantages of v2x technology is that it eliminates the concept of blindspots. For example, if two vehicles are approaching the intersection, there’s a probability that they might not be aware of each other, maybe due to obstruction by infrastructure.
Normally, this blindness could result in accidents. But with upgraded intersections, even though the vehicles can’t see each other, they are aware of each other, which greatly helps make safer decisions.
However, this advantage will be fully realized once there is widespread adoption of v2x in cars.
The time spent at intersections can be frustrating. As a result, drivers usually get impatient, which increases the probability of making unsafe decisions.
With v2x technology at intersections, the waiting time could be slashed significantly. The intersection collects and analyzes data about approaching vehicles from all directions then makes changes to traffic lights for an optimal experience.
In addition, the intersection communicates with approaching vehicles, helping them make decisions that are not only safer but also better for the overall efficiency of the intersection.
The use of vehicle-to-everything communication technology at intersections can help not only make intersections safer but also more efficient. This is important especially because intersections are usually the most complex parts of roads.
There are immediate benefits to be gained from the implementation of this technology today. However, as the penetration of v2x technology increases, the benefits will compound, and at some point, we may even realize the vision of collision-free road travel.