Have you ever watched the movie Toy Story? The animated characters all talk to each other on their own time. They can also mysteriously stop when humans see them or play with them. Well, it looks like it won’t be our childhood toys that will start talking to each other first. Toyota and Lexus have confirmed that they will launch vehicles that can talk to each other as soon as 2021 in the United States. This will pave the way for more automation and increased levels of safety.
As a step towards automated vehicles, the infrastructure and the environment must also be smart. They must be able to communicate with each other, so that they can coordinate movements and ensure the smoothest flow of traffic. Toyota and Lexus will start to deploy this capability with a technology called Dedicated Short Range Communications (DRSC).
“By allowing vehicles’ intelligent systems to collaborate more broadly and effectively through DSRC technology, we can help drivers realize a future with zero fatalities from crashes, better traffic flow and less congestion,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). Mr Lentz further stated that: “In that same spirit, we believe that greater DSRC adoption by all automakers will not only help drivers get to their destinations more safely and efficiently, but also help lay the foundation for future connected and automated driving systems.”
DRSC technology is allocated 7 channels of the 5.9GHz band. It has been specifically reserved for automated and smart vehicle systems. Systems like this include vehicle to vehicle communications and vehicle to infrastructure technology. This frequency band is not on any part of the spectrum reserved for general telecommunications, and so vehicles equipped with this technology won’t be charged fees for its use.
The technology has been tested recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 3,000 cars were linked together as part of a 12-month trial on DRSC effectiveness. It’s only the first stage of proving the technology is effective with a lot of cars in the same space. But it’s a good start.
Toyota and Lexus will be pioneering DRSC technology. The first company to announce its cars will be able to talk to each other and the environment. Hopefully, the technology will be a new standard that others will follow.