Cohda Wireless supplies its CohdaMobility Mk2 module for onboard communications in the pilot vehicles. The MK2 employs an IEEE 802.11 radio, GPS chip, and applications processor. (Source: Cohda Wireless)
Noticed on the first photo the DB9 marked RS232. I suspect this box must be plugged into a control board somewhere, possibly to the unit in the trunk of the second vehicle. RS232? In a high noise environment? Maybe RS422 to communicate to the control unit, or maybe a modified differential CAN bus. I hope it is more reliable than my Y2K stick shift Mustang GT convertible electronics! I also found that the "standard OBD II" is anything but standard. Every manufactuer uses their own "standard", except for the connector. Whoopee! SAE or IEEE would do a much better than than Congress. Thankfully Congress never "standardized" bolts. Imagine what that alternate universe would be like!
Thinking even further down the line, a unit like this has all the parts needed to make the vehicle "autodrive", except for machine vision that would be needed to avoid those pesky pedestrians, non V2V units, dogs, deer, bicycles, errant children, and other road hazards.
Then thinking even further, cars would no longer run red lights, stop signs, or speed. What will we do with all the traffic cops who no longer have a function? Maybe they could give out tickets for badly dressed engineers, those amongst us whose socks don't match!
Then again maybe I should just shut up and see why my "check engine soon", "ABS fault", and "traction control" lamps are all on. My bet is they are all connector related. I should do this before the fish tailing in second gear acceleration gets me killed!
The cost of these vehicle-to-vehicle systems is really not that much compared with the potential savings in lives and damaged cars. I'd love to see this technology become standard in all new cars and trucks.
Hi Chuck, Quite an interesting article on vehicle crash prevention using V2V Technology. I understand Ford has embraced WiFi in their Fiesta automobile for V2V communications. I'm curious to know the radius in which these vehicles can communicate within. Will the vehicle communication nodes be limited to driving distance(miles) in which the V2V automobiles need for proper data transmission to occur? I know wireless meshed networks operating from 802.15.4 standard can have signficant range and if a node is offline the other nodes will step in to keep the network up and running.
Chuck, you mention a price of $100 to $200 per car. That sounds reasonable for the electronic technology mentioned. Your point about it being used mainly in high end luxury cars is a little off base, I think. For example, air bags cost more, and many are on all vehicles. In addition, a back-up camera, whcih is not really useful in the situations mentioned in your article, cost $250 for the consumer (and probably $20 for the manufacturer) and they are popular even on compact cars. So, if you are right about the cost, it should be a requirement.
I have also been following the IEEE standards for V2V and V2I. Since they build on existing standards I think you will find that they can be implemented cost effectively using existing devices programmed to operate in the environment.
Finally, it is good to see this technology finally being applied. I think they will find that even if not everyone has it, it will help. If everyone had it there would be vastly fewer accidents.