Connected Vehicles

Connected vehicles can use wireless communication to “talk” to traffic signals, work zones, toll booths, school zones, and other types of infrastructure. Non-safety applications may be based on different types of wireless technology. Cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles will be able to “talk” to each other with in-vehicle or aftermarket devices that continuously share important safety and mobility information with each other. Connected and fully automated vehicles (CAVs) refers to fully automated vehicles that are also equipped with communication technologies.


Safety-related systems for connected vehicle technology will likely be based on Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) or 5G technology. DSRC is fast, secure, reliable and operates on a dedicated spectrum. 5G will support a broad range of V2X and non-V2X use cases, including enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), massive Internet of Things (mIoT) and mission-critical services.

Step 1. Camera View

The sensor views the road ahead through use of a camera and identifies:

  • Vehicles
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Lane Markings
  • Speed Limit Signs

Step 2. Data Gathering

Gathering all of this information allows the system to continuously measure the distance and relative speed of the vehicle in relation to other vehicles and pedestrians, the location of the vehicle relative to the lane markings, and the speed of the vehicle. This frequent collection of information is tracked and measured repeatedly.

Step 3. System Decision

The system then determines if there is a potential danger and warns the driver with both visual and auditory alerts. These are uniquely positioned to address some of the main causes of collisions singled out by major automotive safety organizations.

Demonstrations from Mobileye, 2018

However, accurately detecting cyclists has always been a problem for AV systems. For example, a visual computing “Deep3DBox algorithm” was able to identify 89 percent of vehicles (in 1.5 seconds) in a challenges vision systems (image partly occluded, purposefully difficult to interpret) across 2D road images, but its performance fell significantly to 59% for detecting (and orienting) cyclists (Fairley, 2017). One way to dramatically improve bicycle identification and cyclist safety is by having CV technologies (basic safety messages via low-cost radio transmitters, for example) coming from bicyclists (Burns, 2017). And Volvo is working on a method using communication via bike helmets (Moon, 2014).

In the U.S., NHTSA (2018) is still actively considering using DSRC technology for V2V communications. The DSRC standard was finalized in 2009 and has been subjected to extensive testing by automakers and select large scale (Chachich et al., 2015). However, as described in a 5G Americas (2018) report, “There is no apparent path for continued evolution of the radio (DSRC) standard to meet changing technological and consumer needs…. Additionally, as it was designed for rapid transmission of short-range basic safety messages, it is unable to meet the higher bandwidth demands of V2X applications, such as autonomous driving (and) multimedia services.” They note that C-V2X using 5G (which is next-generation cellular communication) has several key advantages over DSRC, including longer range and enhanced reliability, more consistent performance in congested traffic, an evolutionary path toward 5G for emerging applications, and better coexistence with other technologies (like cameras, radar and lidar). However, other policy considerations will need to be resolved for cellular V2X to be embraced by stakeholders: “These include the universal availability of V2V or other safety-related applications for vehicle owners that choose not to activate their mobile network operator SIM card for cost or privacy reasons, a revised set of liability issues and the ability of state highway authorities to interface with an LTE network that they do not operate.”


The applications described below may be applied by CAVs in the future (Spirent, 2016). The average travel experience would be greatly improved thanks to additional communication and automation provided by CAV technology.

Real-time traffic and incident alerts. CAVs will be cognizant of upcoming traffic and incidents, prompting them to slow down, and/or change lanes or route and adjusting trip time predictions as appropriate. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, signals from other cars already in traffic will begin to inform in-vehicle navigation systems in real time, from average speeds and journey times to activation signals from windscreen wipers and headlights.

Diagnostics and vehicle health reports. CAVs will be able to contact mechanics and garages directly with diagnostic issues, keeping performance parameters under review, and informing the driver of any issues earlier than they would know with a conventional car.

Improved navigation and positioning. Where satellite reception is poor – whether in urban canyons, under heavy tree cover or in tunnels and car parks – the availability of WiFi positioning will enable the vehicle to understand its exact position with drastically better certainty and precision.

Integration with home networks. CAVs will increasingly be able to notify buildings of their approach, perhaps by switching on lights, heating or air conditioning systems. At the same time, it would also be important for homes to exchange information with the vehicle while it is parked outside, for example, transferring downloaded media and journey plans, checking the vehicle’s status current status, including: temperature, oil level, mileage information and journey statistics.

Data exchange with insurers, manufacturers and third parties. Currently, telematics systems tend to store information within the vehicle itself. Two-way communication would likely enable insurers to review usage remotely in real time, allow manufacturers to monitor and refine performance, and permit third-party subscription services to record and analyze telemetry and travel patterns.

Payment integration. CAVs with wireless connectivity would be able to pay remotely for incidental, driving-related costs such as road tolls, parking and even fuel.

Localized information and advertising. There is a potential for motorists to benefit from relevant, highly localized information, warnings and offers; from improved weather and traffic reports to short-term discounts at nearby outlets, fuel price information and parking availability.

Police warnings and location. Vehicle connectivity could enable the police and other authorities to issue targeted warnings to improve safety – whether based upon a defined location or directly to individual vehicles. This would also allow them to locate a connected car for security or recovery reasons.

In-vehicle WiFi hotspot. Whether supplied by the manufacturer or retrofitted, systems are already available to provide local WiFi for passengers’ own handheld and wireless devices – some using the vehicle’s own internet connection. As brands in the space increasingly seek to differentiate themselves, it seems likely that such features could become standardized.

Streaming of music and video on demand. In-car entertainment would probably no longer be governed by physical discs and even mp3 players, while libraries of streaming, on-demand media would give drivers and passengers virtually instant access to countless songs, movies, TV shows and games.

Car-to-car gaming. With CAVs able to communicate wirelessly with each other, the lure of passengers challenging each other to live gaming on their mobile devices could become reality.


With 360-degree vision cameras and precise real-time sensors, CAVs would be able to predict and respond to street activities, like lights, pedestrians, and other vehicles. Various technologies can help direct traffic and redirect vehicles to routes accordingly. Mature vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology will enable vehicles to share real-time information regarding mobility with one another and with the surrounding infrastructure.

Several of the safety features of AVs are already in place in testing newer models of vehicles, such as adaptive cruise control and lane keeping. Other anticipated safety features of CAVs, such as high-speed automation and on-highway platooning, will likely be adopted in the next ten years, and may offer further safety benefits. It is worth noting that there are no available statistics showing that CAVs would bring magnificent safety benefits as they are not widely used presently in highway and city networks. However, these safety-oriented technologies have a great potential to improve safety in the future when they have access to mature vehicle monitoring, fast analysis, and a communication system.

Li and Kockelman focused on a number of technologies that may provide the most significant safety benefits. These technologies are mainly to assist the driver, and improved safety is achieved by combining the sensing and threat assessment capabilities of the driver and of the technology. In contrast, when the driver is no longer involved in driving, at the higher automation levels, safety depends entirely on the technology, and that is not yet close to being able to match the safety of the driver alone. These technologies are listed in the table below:

Source: Li and Kockelman, 2016


One CAV will produce 4,000 gigabytes of data per day, from its hundreds of on-vehicle sensors, including camera, radar and lidar. As Nayeem Syed, Assistant General Counsel at Thomson Reuters notes,  “connected car data analytics, critical to both safety and initial viability, will play a key role in driving mass adoption and, when shared effectively, will produce a number of important benefits (Syed, 2017).”

Today’s WiFi-enabled vehicles are connecting to home networks, satellites, and cell towers. Next on tap for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is connectivity with additional elements of the infrastructure, such as traffic lights and signs. Increased networking capabilities will eventually make wireless vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication a reality, enabling cars, trucks, and buses to broadcast data such as position, speed, and brake status to other nearby vehicles so that drivers can be alerted when needed. It’s no surprise that connected and fully automated cars will boast about 3000 Watts of computing power to support all of this advanced functionality.

High-speed serializer/deserializer line drivers and receivers carry the data streams that bring in-vehicle video, audio, and communications to life. These digital content streams not only keep us entertained and navigating in the right direction in our cars, but also improve safety. ADAS applications such as collision avoidance, lane-departure warnings, and self-braking systems rely on fast relay of video streams from multiple cameras and of radar and lidar sensor data to processors, where the data is analyzed and triggers an appropriate action by the vehicle. Mirrors in vehicles would probably be replaced by video links and displays. Randall Wollschlager, Vice President of the Automotive Business Unit at Maxim Integrated notes, “as the automotive industry advances toward fully automated cars, high bandwidth, performance, and reliability of the high-speed links providing the backbone for these applications would be even more critical (Wollschlager, 2017).”