Aftermarket vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) devices, a new product that could bring consumers to 12-volt shops, got a boost this week.
Toyota announced it will include V2V in most of its cars, including Lexus vehicles, in the US by the mid 2020s with the first such cars becoming available in 2021.
The announcement helps bring to the limelight a technology which was mandated to reach the market by 2022 under the previous administration, but which has stalled under the present one.
V2V devices allow cars to better signal each other on the road to warn of a slowdown a few cars ahead, for example. They can also link cars to traffic lights or other infrastructure to improve traffic flow (as in vehicle-to-infrastructure communication or V2I).
Toyota has already installed V2V in about 100,000 cars in Japan, said Reuters.
Cadillac and Audi offers V2V or V2I technology in select models and Volkswagen plans to offer it in 2019 inEurope.
Aftermarket supplier Brandmotion, which is involved in US testing of V2V technology, said Toyota’s announcement could move the technology forward. “Toyota is a leader, and when they do something people pay attention,” said President Jeff Varick.
V2V has been caught in a brewing standards war. Toyota has chosen the original V2V format called the Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) versus future 5G technology.
“They are basically saying ‘we think this important life-saving technology; (DSRC) should be brought forward, regardless of a mandate.’ My favorite part is when they say ‘we invite others to join us.’ That’s great leadership. I think this is a big day for backers of the DSRC standard,” Varick said.
DSRC uses WiFi spectrum in the 5.9GHz band specifically assigned to automakers. But some industry players are lobbying for setting up V2V over 5G instead.
DSRC requires no wireless charges to consumers. And because it has been standardized, Cadillacs could “talk” to Fords.
But there’s little room for upgrading under DSRC and it might not perform well when there’s a lot of traffic at once, Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics said in the recent past. It’s also subject to interference, he added.
Still, those in favor, say 5G is too far away and DSRC is ready to deploy.
For the aftermarket, any movement toward V2V could lead to big sales in the future. “It’s still a really attractive proposition and necessary because if we will ever have full scale deployment, you have to talk about the cars already on the road. You need critical mass. People aren’t going to buy them and put them in cars just because Custom Sounds offers them. You need the government to create the incentives; create the critical mass,” said Varick.
Let’s hope momentum for V2V builds and the government backs a mandate.