In the last blog post, we discussed the various types of sensors that are used today in autonomous vehicles. However, these are not the only ones that are possible. In fact, there is an exciting means of sensing the surroundings around a vehicle that is emerging called V2X.
The concept is that a vehicle (“V”) talks to (“2”) other entities such as infrastructure (“I”), other vehicles (“V”) or devices (“D”). So, you can have V2I, V2V or V2D. An example of V2I might be a vehicle communicating directly with infrastructure such as traffic lights to know the current state (i.e., red, yellow, green) of the signal or in how much time a transition is going to happen to the next state.
V2V is one vehicle communicating directly to another vehicle, for example indicating an intention to slow down and make a right turn at the traffic light. This is done today with a combination of brake lights (to signal slow down) and a blinker. But in a V2V context that same information is sent via computer code from one computer (vehicle) to the other.
Finally, V2D is a vehicle communicating directly with some device such as a smartphone. Imagine the smartphone is in the pocket of a human and it is sending signals out to autonomous vehicles around it letting them know this is a pedestrian that is walking. Even if the vehicle’s cameras or other sensors don’t see the pedestrian, the V2D communication will alert them.
V2X is almost non-existent today, but with the proliferation and advent of 5G technology this type of sensor will emerge in the coming decade.