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What is V2X? An Overview for Beginners

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

By: Natasha Taylor


Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology is a wireless communication system that allows vehicles to connect and communicate with one another, as well as with roadside infrastructure and other road users.

The main goal for V2X technology is to provide safer roads and driving experiences by connecting all entities. When all entities on the road are connected, V2X gives drivers and road users a more complete picture of what is going on around them within a distance of up to 1km.

The information sent via V2X can include the speed and location of other cars or pedestrians, updates on traffic flow and congestion, accidents, roadworks, or even how much time is remaining before a traffic light turns red - also making the technology a key enabler for connected automated vehicles.

Helping them to see what is not within their own range of sight, or any blindspots on the road, drivers can be alerted of any actual or potential hazards, allowing them to take the necessary action and helping them to choose the most efficient routes for their journeys.

To do this, V2X technology permits low-latency vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communication.

An illustration depicting vehicle-to-everything communication with all road entities connected via V2V, V2I and V2P communication.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is the wireless communication directly between the vehicles on the road. This is the wireless communication that provides drivers with the situational awareness of other vehicles’ location, speed or direction, as well as any sudden breaking by a vehicle.

The importance of V2V communication is that it enables drivers to be more informed about the status of other vehicles with On-board units (OBU). Subsequently, drivers can make better decisions when they are on the road, take evasive action, and improve collision avoidance.

Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication allows vehicles to communicate with any infrastructure with a Roadside Unit (RSU).

The messages that are shared are reliant on the infrastructure that is nearby. This can include messages between vehicles and cameras, street lights, traffic lights, signage, and more.

V2I communication not only improves safety on the road, but it also greatly improves efficiency of a vehicle and the road.

Drivers can receive real-time updates about a range of road-related issues such as changing weather conditions, upcoming construction zones, road closures, and available parking spaces that help facilitate improved traffic management.

Vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) creates a direct link of communication between vehicles and pedestrians, or other individuals who may be on the roadside such as cyclists, those entering or exiting vehicles, or road maintenance workers.

These individuals are entitled to the right of way, and must also be given the maximum amount of protection from vehicles on the road, therefore V2P communication allows drivers to be aware of the presence of any pedestrians or road users so that they can avoid them and eliminate any potential collisions that could occur.

Whilst it is important to keep the most vulnerable road users safe, V2P communication is designed to provide safety for both the pedestrian and driver of the vehicle in turn.

Within a vehicle, drivers are alerted to the presence and location of a pedestrian through an on-board V2X unit. For pedestrians, the presence of a vehicle or any other necessary updates can be communicated via V2P messages to a personal device such as a smartphone or wearable device.

With its ability to connect everything on the road and send key information between each entity, V2X technology will transform the way we use the road and our overall driving experience by making journeys safer, reliable and more efficient for all users.

Currently, V2X technology is being tested and deployed in a number of areas using both DSRC and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) protocols, most notably across the U.S., the EU, China, Japan and South Korea.

Whilst many manufacturers have already implemented V2X technology within their vehicles, public and private pilot initiatives are still being undertaken to further test real life applications and scenarios to enable a large-scale deployment of V2X technology across cities and countries.

For large-scale deployment to take place, a number of factors are being considered by regulators and manufacturers such as standardization of V2X protocols to ensure all entities can communicate despite their producer or origin country, investment in infrastructure such as road-side units and data centers, and regulatory frameworks that uphold the safety and privacy of V2X users.




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