The latest iteration of the Volkswagen Golf has become the first volume European car model to feature V2X, wireless communications technology that could become an important component of autonomous driving infrastructure.
Also called “Vehicle-to-Everything”, the technology is essentially designed to communicate with roadside sensors and other V2X-equipped vehicles in order to convey and receive important safety information. For example, a car encountering slippery conditions that trigger an assisted driving system can alert other cars to those conditions before they encounter them. V2X technology can also be used to signal to cars when an emergency response vehicle is approaching.
In the future, these kinds of communications could become essential for the smooth operation of autonomous vehicles. But at the moment, the industry faces something of a crossroads, with two competing versions of V2X technology available. The older standard, known under the names “Wi-Fi-p”, “pWLAN”, and “DSRC”, operates based on a version of Wi-Fi communications; this is the one that Volkswagen is supporting in collaboration with its chip partner NXP Semiconductors. The newer standard, called “C-V2X”, is based on cellular communications, with companies like Ford seeing it as one of the potential conduits for the automotive benefits of 5G technology.
For its part, NXP noted in a statement announcing the Volkswagen Golf integration that 1000 km of roads in Europe are currently supported by the Wi-Fi version of V2X technology, and that 5000 km of support is planned to be established by the end of this year. The Wi-Fi version “forms the basis of the European standard that has been chosen for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication,” NXP says, though it also adds that “developing cellular based technologies can be added complementary to Wi-Fi-based V2X.”
In the meantime, drivers of the new Volkswagen Golf can enjoy the initial safety benefits of V2X technology, where the technology is supported.