Volkswagen plans to have most of its cars with the pWLAN (IEEE 802.11p) wireless connectivity standard by 2019. The system, which has been adopted by the automotive industry for non-proprietary, inter-vehicle communication as well as between vehicles and transport infrastructure will be supported by some of its models as standard, in addition to mobile phone connectivity.

“We want to increase road safety with the aid of networked vehicles, and the most efficient way of achieving this is through the rapid roll-out of a common technology. What matters most is that the technology is used consistently, and by as many manufacturers and partners as possible,” said Johannes Neft, head of vehicle body development for Volkswagen.

Scheduled for launch in 2019, the technology aims to help detect hazards such as a nearby car making an emergency stop, or black ice on the road. This information can be shared instantly with surrounding vehicles and transport infrastructure (car-to-car and car-to-X), enabling other road users to take prompt reaction, says Volkswagen.

These also include the authorities and emergency services, such as the local police and medical officers. Equipped with pWLAN technology, other road users around the first responders can receive information on their distance from approaching emergency vehicles and the direction they are travelling in, long before they are heard or seen.

The integration of transport infrastructure and road users, or car-to-X, is something Volkswagen is also working on with pWLAN technology. Additionally, transport infrastructure operators in Germany, Netherlands and Austria have announced plans to outfit trailers used to block off roadworks with pWLAN technology, in order to reduce rear-end collisions by informing nearby road users of their presence.