Self-driving cars have become an iconic part of the early 21st century. Tech companies like Uber, Google, and Apple have all made forays into self-driving vehicles to media fanfare. Self-driving car company Tesla has a legion of devoted fans, partially due to CEO Elon Musk’s purposeful cultivation of that base, and the stock price to back up the hype. However, fully autonomous cars are still unavailable, with technological and ethical barriers making their development difficult. Despite that, modern automobile manufacturers have been able to integrate increasing amounts of technology into their products. Safety features like automatic braking are especially popular–but they currently rely on visual feedback to work. That’s where V2 technology comes in.
V2X, or “Vehicle to Everything” technology, refers to various different technologies that allow a vehicle to communicate with other objects. The overall idea is that a vehicle is able, or will be able to, use its on-board communication tools to deliver real-time traffic information, preemptively react to changing road conditions, signs, and other feedback. While V2X functions alone won’t be able to replace a driver, they are important building blocks in a self-driving vehicle’s ability to create a map of its environment. These technologies allow a vehicle to share information with various other devices, such as a pedestrian’s smart phone, a traffic light, or other vehicles.
While V2X provides many advantages, proponents of the technology have to overcomes many hurdles before it can become mainstream. The infrastructure changes necessary to take advantage of V2X systems are far-reaching and costly. Privacy concerns about location privacy, hacking or malware, and personal safety have led many people to be skeptical of novel technologies, especially ones that rely on autonomous communication. Finally, adding comprehensive V2X technology to cars is expensive, and the tech itself is still in its relative infancy.
For now, true self-driving cars are still years away from the commercial market. Still, the issues surrounding their deployment and usage need to be addressed before they become mainstream, so that we have systems and structures to accommodate them.