Understanding Vehicle to Vehicle Communication

One of the key developments in vehicular technology has been v2v communication technology, which facilitates vehicle to vehicle communication. The whole shebang is divided into several categories like vehicle to infrastructure, vehicle to pedestrian and the star of today’s show, vehicle to vehicle communication.

What’s the Point of This Technology?

In the past, vehicles didn’t really employ technology as much. At some point, they only used radio signals for audio entertainment. 

However, with advancements in technology, vehicles have become more connected to enhance functionality like navigation. The connectivity brings about advanced communication, which is key to vehicle operation and helps in improving experience for both drivers and pedestrians. 

As a bonus, the improved experience comes with enhanced road safety. The general idea is to push V2V and V2I communication to the point where full autonomy of cars can be realized.

Earlier generations of this technology were passive in the sense that they could only warn the driver of impending danger but couldn’t take any action. Later implementations would improve to brake or steer around obstacles.

v2v communication technology

How It Works

The underlying infrastructure comprises a wireless network that enables vehicles to send messages to each other with information about what they are doing. The information can include little details like speed, direction of travel, and braking.

This technology uses DSRC standards to establish and maintain communication. It’s not uncommon to see this technology being described as using W-Fi because of the frequency although Wi-Fi-like fits the bill better. The range is up to 300 meters. Since the communication is vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to motorcycle, and so on, it’s best to work with highway speeds. With regard to that, the range is about 10 seconds.

V2V and V2I communication is a mesh network in the sense that every node sends, captures as well as retransmits signals. What I mean by node is essentially a unit of the network like the vehicle itself or a traffic signal. The technology picks up information on traffic conditions ahead, even a mile ahead, which is enough time for even the most distracted of drivers to take evasive action.

Like I said, in the past, V2V communication technology could only warn and alert drivers of impending danger with a flashing alert on the dash or some other similar warning. Currently, some advanced systems can even brake or steer the vehicle around hazards. I don’t know about you but that certainly is more interesting than an annoying red alert on the dash.

Security Risks From V2V Communication Technology

Even the best of systems has some flaws, and this case is no different.

V2V systems will demand rigorous security features to ensure communication is not disrupted. Decisions while driving are sometimes a literal life or death situation so communication is key. It stands to reason that a security breach in this technology could be just as bad as a breach in a power grid. The aforementioned rigorous security features will only complicate the system more.

As if that wasn’t enough, the systems need to scale to over 350 million users to cover every vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to motorcycle communication.

Car makers are faced with the headache of separating functionality to ensure that no entity can match different records to identify an individual vehicle or driver. Let me break it down for you:

The system relies on individualized information to communicate with other entities. As such, the system must allow for each vehicle to transmit information unique to itself. The other side of this paradox is the driver’s privacy must be protected. To conform to this standard, the system must add a layer of security to protect the identity of the driver.