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The fundamental enabling technology for cooperative systems is a “universal communications module” that can interface to existing in-vehicle systems, and to existing roadside installations, and that can maintain a continuous wireless high-capacity data channel. The CVIS module can use existing bearers such as 2.5/3G cellular phone and DSRC, and will be specifically designed for the new “Wi-Fi for mobiles” wireless local networking supporting both vehicle to vehicle and roadside infrastructure communications. This means that an operator, service provider or other nearby vehicle will be able to address a vehicle in entirely new ways, such as by location or by IP address, and provide new kinds of service.

Traffic management systems will be able for the first time to communicate with individual vehicles, and to optimise the network efficiency in the knowledge of every vehicle’s position and trajectory, and even its desired destination. This opens the way to provide personalised routing guidance using instantaneous traffic information, safety alerts to vehicles in a certain area and speed recommendations to groups of vehicles. This will increase total network capacity and reduce localised congestion, thus also reducing the number of accidents. Traffic will flow more smoothly with fewer stops, thus improving air quality. Special priority can be given to classes of vehicles, such as emergency or public transport vehicles, or goods vehicles.

Drivers will benefit from more complete and up-to-date information about traffic hazards and congestion, presented in new ways – for instance road signs, variable message signs and traffic light status can be displayed in the vehicle. Through new interfaces drivers will be able to exchange requests and recommendations. The “always-connected” communications channel will allow access to information and entertainment content available on the Internet, and to interact (in safe ways) with home and office.

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