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Car Talk

Europe begins testing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications systems

3 min read
Car Talk

Under pressure to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption, and carbon dioxide emissions, the European Union has spawned a batch of projects to give cars the ability to communicate wirelessly with the road and among themselves. The effort, similar to some in Japan and the United States, has reached a major milestone following a June EU ruling that set aside RF spectrum for vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Those developing car- and road-communications systems will begin testing their wares this fall ahead of large-scale road trials at six sites in Europe, which will begin in early 2009. Experts expect the technologies to begin commercial deployment as soon as 2011.

There's been no shortage of ideas. A car might share data with other vehicles over a distance of 20 to 200 meters, giving the driver enough time to intervene and avoid a crash or, if a crash is inevitable, to provide data that optimizes usage of air bags, motorized seat-belt pretensioners, and extendable bumpers. Or a vehicle could communicate directly with others and with roadside infrastructure, using a dynamic local map to help the driver quickly respond to warnings of congestion and make better decisions about his or her route. Now these and other concepts are being tested at the Lindholmen Science Park, in Göteborg, Sweden.

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

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VCG/Getty Images

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