BMW's Car-to-X technology allows cars and motorbikes to communicate with each other and with the world around them for greater autonomy, safety and efficiency.
The German carmaker's first large real-world scale field test of the technology, which it has been developing in partnership with simTD for four years, took place last week on the roads of Frankfurt and involved 20 cars and 5 bikes equipped with the wireless communication system. The technology enables vehicles to wirelessly communicate with each other and with elements of road infrastructure -- just like devices on a home wi-fi network -- and means that as well as reducing the risk of an accident at a hidden or busy junction, cars and their drivers can react to information about upcoming road conditions or changes in traffic flow. "The system evaluates all incoming data, such as the speed, distance from the intersection and direction of travel of other road users, along with information generated by the driver's own vehicle. If the driver does not react to an intersecting vehicle, he will be warned by visual as well as acoustic signals," explains Dr Christoph Grote, Head of BMW Group Research and Technology.
Over 30 percent of road traffic accidents in Germany alone happen at junctions and road intersections. One of the major aims of the technology is to eradicate issues such as poor visibility, confusion and lack of familiarity that all play a role in such accidents. "The investigations proved that, with the current close-to-production positioning technology, the Cross Traffic Assistant function already has the potential to prevent many accidents at intersections," says Grote. Traffic light systems, for example, can transmit information on their phasing so that a driver assistance system can either indicate the optimum speed to catch a succession of lights on green or warn of the risk of crossing the lights at red.
Other car companies that will benefit from the development of the technology include Opel, Audi, Ford, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz parent company) and Volkswagen all of whom have been working in partnership with BMW and simTD on the project which has so far used 120 separate test vehicles and recreated and simulated more than 4000 intersection crossings.