What is V2X Communication?
To the uninitiated, it seems like some strange code — V2X. But in reality, it is a simple shorthand for a relatively new and growing type of communication that exists not to spread social media angst but instead to save lives.
V2X refers to vehicle-to-everything communications, which is an all-encompassing term for several subsets. The most important of these are vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P), and vehicle-to-network (V2N.)
As these new interconnected communication networks are built out, your car's onboard electronic systems will routinely transmit information to and receive information from other vehicles and infrastructure elements like traffic signals and parking garages. It will identify the nearby presence of pedestrians who are carrying smartphones, and it could send messages to accomplish something as mundane as ordering a pizza that you will pick up on your way home.
But while drivers will initiate things like pizza-ordering — at least until the technology becomes smart enough to know that you are hungry before you do — the vast majority of the communications will be transparent to the driver and take place on a virtually continuous basis via secure, reliable, high-bandwidth links. The overriding goal is improving traffic safety.
The goal is undoubtedly worthy of substantial effort and the application of leading-edge technology. According to the World Health Organization, traffic accidents cause approximately 1.2 million deaths worldwide each year. Not only is that a staggering number of fatalities, but it also represents 25 percent of all deaths caused by injury annually.
Beyond the fatalities, an additional 50 million people per year are injured in traffic accidents. If we viewed road deaths as a disease, we would be in the midst of an on-going traffic epidemic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic brought its own lethal consequences to the planet, vehicle-related fatalities were well on their way to becoming the third-leading cause of death worldwide. In the United States each year, nearly 40,000 people are killed in vehicle collisions.