Across the Atlantic Europeans battle the same scourges faced daily by drivers on roads in the United States and elsewhere – peril and congestion. The European Union (EU) plans to tackle both by 2010 with “talking cars”. In August EU authorities announced a single EU-wide frequency band that can be used for immediate and reliable communication between cars, and between cars and roadside infrastructure. The 30 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 Gigahertz (GHz) band is the element that completes the system.
Known formally as the EU Intelligent Car Initiative, this enabling system was launched in 2006. It is expected to be in full operation across the bloc by 2010. The latest measure establishes conditions for interoperability and cross-border use of car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication.
If a vehicle equipped with a cooperative car-to-car communication device detects a slippery patch on a road, it can deliver this information ergonomically – thanks to the 5.9 GHz band – to all cars located nearby. Or if a traffic management center needs to inform drivers about a sudden road closure, the alternative route to take or speed limits, it will also be able to send this information with ergonomic dispatch to a transmitter detector along the respective road, which then passes it on to the vehicles driving by.
According to the EU developers of the initiative, smart vehicle communication systems have the potential to reduce risk and aggravation on the roads: in 2006, more than 42,000 people died in road accidents in the European Union and more than 1.6 million were injured. And every day there are some 7,500 km (4,600 miles) of traffic jams on EU roads.
It system will facilitate the development and testing of road safety related applications.
The initiative also includes plans to foster investment in smart vehicle communication systems by the automotive and telecommunication industries, at the same time spurring public funding in essential roadside infrastructure.
Source: European Union