Audi plans to roll out C-V2X technology, enabling its cars to talk to construction zones and traffic lights, according to a press release.
The technology will initially be deployed in the third quarter of 2020 in Virginia, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). C-V2X uses spectrum the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set aside for connected vehicle safety.
C-V2X will be able to provide a countdown at traffic lights, letting the driver know how long they have until the light turns greens. It will also alert drivers to construction, delivering “graduated warning, with the last link being a low-latency, reliable warning to drivers of the workers’ physical presence.”
Eventually the technology could even be used to communicate between vehicles, with cars automatically alerting other vehicles to obstacles, icy conditions or other dangers. The technology is the natural progression and expansion of crowd-sourcing apps like Waze, which allow drivers to alert each other to dangers on the road. Unlike those type of apps, this technology will be in the background, seamlessly sending and receiving updates to nearby vehicles, without requiring driver involvement and the subsequent distractions that can cause.
“VDOT has long supported research into the benefits of connected and automated vehicles, particularly those aspects that have the potential to significantly enhance safety,” said Cathy McGhee, Virginia’s Director of Transportation Research and Innovation. “The inclusion of shorter-range, direct communication in the 5.9 GHz band using C-V2X is exciting, as it can allow us to evaluate this emerging communication option for essential and practical safety and mobility services, including saving the lives of maintenance and construction personnel in work zones.”
“We recognize the immediate value of the spectrum that the FCC proposed to allocate to C-V2X, and we endeavor to show our V2X equipped cars on real roads engaging in how transportation safety and mobility could be jump-started,” said Anupam Malhotra, Director, Connected Vehicle Services, Audi of America. “We are excited about our participation in this pilot deployment as it highlights the broad societal advantages that technology is now poised to deliver through the full 5.9 GHz V2X spectrum near term with far, far more to come as connected and automated vehicle fleets emerge over the next decade.”