Mercedes-Benz will introduce Car-to-X (C2X) communication technology into series production vehicles by the end of the year. Through the use of C2X communication, information on potential road traffic dangers can be passed on to drivers at an early stage so that they can take appropriate action and even help to avoid critical situations arising in the first place, the automaker noted. (Earlier post.)
As part of the initial deployment of the technology, Mercedes will use the Drive Kit Plus, which, in combination with a smartphone and the Digital DriveStyle app developed by Mercedes-Benz, turns the vehicle into a simultaneous transmitter and receiver of information.
Daimler said it is using this mobile communication-based approach because it promises to offer the quickest way to deploy the future technology and therefore also the quickest possible shortcut to unlocking the safety potential of Car-to-X technology. However, Daimler is also involved in the further development of Car-to-X communication and, based on a hybrid approach, is also able to extend its systems into the area of ad-hoc communication between vehicles.
Through the integration of Car-to-X technology in the Drive Kit Plus and the Digital DriveStyle app, Mercedes-Benz is enabling as many Mercedes-Benz customers as possible to benefit from Car-to-X technology. Drive Kit Plus can be ordered for new vehicles but also can be installed in stock vehicles as a retrofit solution.
In other words, Car-to-X communication is not dependent on the market launch of a new model, and will be offered to customers across the board from the end of the year.
Car-to-X technology is able significantly to expand the scope of existing vehicle sensors, such as radar or camera systems. It enables motorists to “see” around corners or beyond obstacles, thereby helping to reduce the blind spots from which existing sensor systems suffer. The technology's greatest potential lies in this expansion of the telematic horizon, the company said.
With Car-to-X communication we have made a base technology ready for the market which in the future will enable a new generation of driver assistance systems to be developed. Through the intelligent fusion of sensor data, we are able to obtain an extremely precise picture of the vehicles surrounding including areas further away from the vehicle—which also helps us with the further development of our autonomous driving functions.—Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development
In addition to enhancing safety and convenience, Car-to-X technology can also contribute to making mobility more efficient by using precise information on traffic conditions available via Car-to-X communication, for example to improve the flow of traffic by controlling traffic light signals.
Use examples. When warning messages are issued in the vicinity of the vehicle, the driver receives a warning in advance in good time and the hazardous location is marked on the map. With this information the driver has the option of adjusting driving style and speed in such a way that a dangerous situation does not even arise. The driver can also be warned at an early stage about wrong-way drivers or dangerous weather conditions.
In addition to receiving warning messages, each vehicle fitted with Car-to-X communication can also transmit information on dangers to other road users and therefore contribute to enhancing road safety.
Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are able to detect many of these dangers automatically and without the driver being required to take any action, due to t the integration of the Car-to-X system in the vehicle’s own systems. For dangers which are not detected automatically, or which cannot yet be detected automatically, an efficient manual notification option has been created.
At the press of a button, alerts on immobile vehicles or animals on the road, wrong-way drivers or shed loads can be transmitted via the Mercedes Cloud. This then sends a warning message to all vehicles fitted with Car-to-X technology which are in the vicinity of the hazardous location.
Daimler is a founding member of the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium, and is actively working on a Europe-wide standardized system for Car-to-X communication. And by acting as the project manager of a German and European field trial for the practical testing of Car-to-X communication, Daimler is also driving force behind the preparations for the market launch of Car-to-X systems.