Special Coverage

Convergence

DETROIT – Getting vehicles to communicate with one another and roadside wireless networks to improve safety and traffic flow are daunting tasks.

But social and institutional issues likely will prove bigger roadblocks to the implementation of the connected car, rather than technology, Chrysler LLC's David Henry tells attendees at the Convergence Transportation Electronics Conference here.

Henry, currently serving as president of the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium, says most of the group's original goals have proven viable, with no major technical obstacles.

For instance, he says a 5.9 GHz dedicated short-range communication wireless network is a feasible medium for vehicle-to-vehicle communications, although more work needs to be done in this area.

Likewise, it's possible for vehicles to locally broadcast to overhead signs or nearby vehicles when they are braking hard or encountering slippery pavement.

“We haven't scratched the surface,” to where the technology can go, Henry says.

He cites home-entertainment systems that would allow drivers to sync movies or music with their vehicles before leaving on a trip, digital map updates for navigation systems and wireless diagnostics done by dealership service departments while a consumer is on the go.

Technology will not be the problem, he emphasizes.

The most difficult part of future vehicle infrastructure-integration activities will be social and institutional issues regarding privacy, liability for system failures and ownership of the wireless networks and the data they gather and transmit.

However, Henry says these issues are being studied and addressed by his consortium in parallel with the technical issues and are not seen as insurmountable. Indeed, he views the vehicle-to-vehicle communication effort gaining momentum.

dwinter@wardsauto.com