UK needs master plan for wireless connected cars
The US government has given the go ahead for the general, introduction of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology in the volume car market.
If the UK government does do the same and promote the introduction of V2V links in family saloons, it will be another lost opportunity for the industry.
Behind the US move is a realisation that wireless links between vehicles will improve safety and ultimately avoid many crashes altogether by exchanging basic safety data, such as speed and position, ten times per second.
“Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we’ve already seen with safety belts and air bags,” said US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx.
This would be reason enough for the government to promote the technology through operator licences and technology development incentives. But for the UK there is another pressing reason. V2V combines two of the UK’s more important technology sectors – automotive manufacturing and wireless services.
This could be an area of the so-called internet-of-things which UK companies could turn into commercial opportunities.
It has parallels with the early years of mobile phone 25 years ago, when the government that time seized the opportunity of putting UK in the first wave of mobile technology and services, if not handset production.
As a result the UK had its first global wireless brand – Vodafone. It also became a globally-recognised centre for wireless technology development; a reputation which still exists today.
Applying mobile technology to vehicle-to-vehicle communications is a whole new area of technology which brings together, safety, security and energy-efficiency.
The UK already has the technologies which can make this happen in a commercial sense. All the industry needs is the will to make it happen. A government masterplan would help.