V2X, or ‘vehicle-to-everything’ is the catch-all term for systems that utilise vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technologies, which will play a crucial role in allowing autonomous vehicles of the future to ‘see’ their surroundings.
A number of carmakers are working right now to bring driverless cars to market, with radar, lidar and camera units forming the core of the systems that give their prototype vehicles similar abilities.
V2X-Radar boosts the ‘sight’ of prototype self-driving cars by improving on their ability to operate safely in inclement weather, thanks to a new implementation of the wireless signals sent and received by connected cars and infrastructure.
While the likes of Google have yet to advance their driverless car projects to the point of attempting a trip through snow or heavy rains, Cohda Wireless says V2X-Radar is “unaffected” by rain, snow or fog - and can see around corners.
Announcing the new system during a special Cabinet meeting of the South Australian Government at its own North Adelaide headquarters, Cohda CEO Dr Paul Gray described V2X-Radar as a “disruptive” technology.
“V2X systems are essential for driverless cars, extending their view of the world beyond that of traditional sensors,” Gray said today.
“V2X-Radar pushes this even further, allowing driverless cars to sense the environment in ways not previously imagined.”
Using the same wireless signal protocols used in 'connected' cars, V2X-Radar receives these signals through a single antenna as they bounce off walls, road signs and other vehicles to identify objects in the surrounding space.
These signals are interpreted by the V2X-Radar system in combination with a three-dimensional map, delivering what Cohda promises to be “highly accurate” positioning.
Importantly, the system need only be installed on the receiving car, with all other connected cars already sending a signal by default - in the same way that a broadcast on another planet would eventually be picked up by an appropriately ‘tuned’ receiver here on Earth.
“The challenge of deploying V2X is in providing clear benefits for early adopters,” Gray said.
“Cohda Wireless developed V2X-Radar to solve this problem. V2X-Radar uses standard V2X radio signals to sense the surrounding environment, transforming a standard V2X communications system into a 360-degree car radar.”
Based in Adelaide, Cohda was an early recipient of innovation and ‘pre-seed’ funds from the Australian Government in the early and mid 2000s. The company has gone on to become a major player on the global stage, with its systems and services used by General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen, Audi and BMW, among others.
The company claims that its technology is used in more than 60 percent of V2X field trials around the world, and General Motors supplier Delphi is expected to include Cohda systems in hardware bound for around 30,000 Cadillac models in late 2016.
At this week's announcement, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill highlighted Cohda's technologies as a key mover for the state's future vision.
“SA is leading the world with its driverless vehicle trial, so it’s great to see a smart South Australian company like Cohda Wireless leading the world with its innovative technology,” he said.
“The State Government is fostering companies like Cohda Wireless by creating the legislative environment to enable innovators to flourish and by helping to focus the world on the achievements of our world-leading businesses.”
CarAdvice will be on the ground in Adelaide for this week’s International Driverless Car Conference on Thursday and Friday, along with the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative tests on Saturday and Sunday. Stay tuned for our comprehensive coverage.