Business Operations/Management

Technology - Vehicles as Communication Tools

By Robert Roman |

06/01/21

For the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been working with the automotive industry and academia to advance the benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V).

In short, V2V is the ability to wirelessly exchange information about surrounding vehicles. The technology allows vehicles to broadcast and receive omni-directional messages.

Vehicles equipped with appropriate software applications can use the information from surrounding vehicles to do things such as issue alerts to warn drivers of some situation (e.g., collision avoidance).

Another feature of V2V technology is the vehicle information communicated does not identify the driver or vehicle and controls are available to deter tracking or tampering.

A related technology is vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (V2I). According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, V2I is the wireless exchange of data between vehicles and road infrastructure such as lane markings, road signs, and traffic lights. So captured, the data can then be used by the technology to inform drivers of safety (e.g., hazards), mobility (e.g., congestion) or environment-related conditions (e.g., weather).

Dovetailing on V2V and V2I is V2B technology (vehicle to business). V2B involves the integration of broadband wireless access (BWA) technologies and real-world vehicle data into business applications. The purpose of which is to generate additional revenue by means of innovative services or to reduce costs based on business process improvement.

An example of V2B is the car insurance industry’s pay-as-you-drive pricing model where premiums are determined based on people’s actual driving behavior that is recorded and transmitted by dedicated on-board units.

A car wash scenario might include two-way communication flow from an in-vehicle application to a company’s car wash sites and administrative office, and a third-party marketing partner.

In return, the application would provide the driver with relevant information such as available discounts or value-added services that would be displayed on the vehicle’s infotainment screen or driver’s mobile device.

Such communication is not yet possible because there is no standardized integration platform that will allow for reliable and scalable interconnection between vehicles and service providers. For example, vehicles regularly lose and attempt to re-establish an Internet connection when driving in a tunnel.

Consequently, the infrastructure must provide mechanisms to maintain the identity of vehicles’ changing IP addresses. This calls for a computer network with low latency and high reliability. Low latency means a network is optimized to process a very high volume of data messages with minimal delay.

Pundits expect such capabilities will be developed within the next five years.

In the early 2000s, ISOs (independent sales organizations) and MLSs (merchant level sales) were debating whether selling large POS systems and payment processing was an opportunity or a sinkhole.

Today, car wash operators are at a disadvantage if they don’t have a POS system and the tools to reach out to customers via their mobile phone. Arguably, the same can be said for the notion of V2B.

 

Bob Roman is president of RJR Enterprises — Consulting Services (www.carwashplan.com). You can reach Bob via e-mail at bob@carwashplan.com



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