Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK Car-to-X Communication system

'Car talk' takes a new turn

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems have developed an in-vehicle platform that claims it can reduce accidents by providing drivers with information on situations beyond their field of vision.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK Car-to-X Communication (C2X) is based on a wireless LAN (WLAN) interface linking vehicles in combination with GPS feeds. A vehicle’s position and sensor data on speed, acceleration, or sliding can be reported to roadside wireless communication nodes.

These roadside units also give vehicles updated information on road conditions ahead, such as accidents or traffic jams, or just the best speed for timing the green lights.

The system is based on a three-stage process:

  • Periodic standardised messages that every car transmits to other similarly-equipped cars and the roadside units up to ten times a second: includes position, direction of travel, and speed.
  • Event-based information such as notifications of accidents involving passenger cars or that the roadside unit recognises because several vehicles are simultaneously braking fast. This also captures traffic jams because a lot of cars are standing still, or slick roads when the ESP (electronic stability program) activates in other vehicles.
  • Application information – on traffic-light sequences that vehicles can exchange with one another, along with traffic information generally. Roadside units can also gather data from other sources such as radio and the traffic centre.

Other applications and the software for them are loaded wherever needed to launch the minimum configuration for the C2X system in order to balance deamans on the resources of the units, Fraunhofer Institute claims. C2X will be demonstrated at the Embedded World Exhibition and Conference (March 1-3 2011, Nuremberg, Germany).

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