MIT Researchers Test Nascent Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Scheme

Congestion-smoothing experiment highlights opportunities for smartphone manufacturers, automakers and cities.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

Inside each vehicle, they also placed a second smartphone that communicated with a remote RoadRunner server via an LTE cellular connection. The researchers did this in order to compare how long it took the two systems to do things such as issue tokens or send a driver re-routing directions. For the most part, the phones that communicated through the vehicle-to-vehicle protocol (over 802.11p) performed comparably to those communicating directly to the server.

Future Scenarios
Using the software simulations, the team showed that cars could drive an average of 8 percent faster during periods of peak traffic under the RoadRunner system for distributing traffic on city streets, compared with the congestion pricing scheme, under which cars are not prohibited from entering congested areas but are charged fees for doing so.

The test performed with actual drivers in Cambridge was far too small to impact street congestion, Gao says, but it proves that the RoadRunner software functioned as expected.

The 802.11p radio units they tested, however, are roughly the size of a hardcover book, Gao reports. The next goal, he says, is to focus on the hardware side of the RoadRunner system by significantly shrinking the radio, such that it could be small enough to embed into a smartphone.

Component supplier Delphi Automotive recently announced that General Motors just integrated its 802.11p chipset, made through a collaboration between Cohda Wireless and NXP Semiconductors, in its 2017 Cadillac models. The chipset will be controlled by a microprocessor also integrated into the car, and will be used for vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-cloud applications.

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