In 2021, the Toyota and Lexus vehicles will be able to "talk" to each other, to other cars, and to the infrastructure. The brands both plan for an aggressive rollout of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications via Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) technology.
Together V2I and V2V technology are known as V2X. Toyota's system can relay information via a 5.9-GHz DSRC connection and provide crucial safety information to drivers, among other info. In the Toyota/Lexus announcement on Monday, the brands said V2X will first come to market in 2021, and the goal will be to add the technology to most vehicles by the mid-2020s.
DSRC provides vehicles information several times per second, which can help prevent crashes and notify the car and driver of weather conditions, traffic congestion, or other infrastructure-related issues. DSRC also does not require a cellular network, and Toyota encouraged other automakers to adopt the DSRC industry standard to create cohesive benefits across the automotive sector.
While Toyota/Lexus plans to use DSRC, 5G cellular technology is another possibility as more and more cars are equipped with modems. Qualcomm is at the forefront of this technology in the automotive space, and automakers such as BMW, Citroen, Peugeot, and Ford have expressed interest for their V2X purposes. General Motors has worked with Qualcomm for its OnStar system since 2002.
Right now, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen have each introduced or plan to bring their own V2X systems to market. However, some, such as Cadillac's V2V technology, only work with other Cadillacs. VW plans to begin with V2V technology in 2019 and gradually expand the system in years to come.
While Toyota imagines one standard for all automakers to ensure clear communication in V2X technology, how that plays out is anyone's guess. Automakers need to make big investments in the technology of their choice, and right now it appears to be a fight between DRSC and 5G.
It will likely be awhile before the corner stop sign can warn cars of conditions ahead (that requires infrastructure investments), but expect V2X technology to provide a new set of eyes over traffic conditions in the years to come.