Vehicular autonomy has made remarkable progress using sensors including radar, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), camera systems, and the wide area network for cloud based services. Car to car communication, however, has so far not been utilized, as each autonomous system must be self-sufficient ultimately dependent only on its own sensors.
So, is there a role for a car to car communications based sensor?
Cellular-V2X, provides two functions that are unique to this type of sensor. Firstly C-V2X provides deterministic information. With C-V2X vehicles broadcasts ten times a second exactly where they are, how fast and which direction they are going. All other sensors essentially have to guess this information. C-V2X can also convey intent and soon it will allow vehicles to share their sensor data (sensor sharing).
Secondly, and maybe more importantly, all the other available sensors are “line of sight”, meaning they “see” what we also see with our eyes. Direct C-V2X communication complements the capabilities of these sensors by providing “non-line-of sight” awareness, allowing a vehicle to “see” beyond vehicles and obstructions immediately around it.
These two things combined will enhance the reliability if the autonomous system and will make it conform to more environments.
It is this non-line-of-sight ability that makes C-V2X a better choice against alternative technologies. C-V2X has better link budget compared to IEEE802.11p, which is a technology that was developed over 10 years ago and over which a significant system has been defined including middleware and application level messaging by IEEE,SAE,ETSI, and others. Indeed C-V2X reuses the upper layers that have been worked on over the last decade but proposes alternative physical and media access control layers.
With specification completed as part of 3GPP Release 14, C-V2X supports direct communications operating in the ITS 5.9 GHz band, where vehicles can communicate with each other and roadside infrastructure without requiring a cellular subscription or network access.
C-V2X evolution path and ecosystem
C-V2X R14 is the first step the cellular industry is taking in this area. R15/16 will incorporate further 5G features, including high throughput, ultra-low latency, high reliability, and ranging.
To accelerate its adoption, Qualcomm co-founded the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) in September 2016 along with AUDI AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ericsson, Ford Motor Company, Huawei, Intel and Nokia. We are also working closely with key automotive suppliers. For example, we announced coordinated efforts with LG to facilitate testing and adoption of 5G and C-V2X.
At Mobile World Congress 2017, we showcased our C-V2X trail platform to be used for trials in 2017, including the Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow (ConVeX) in Germany with Audi, Ericsson, SWARCO and the University of Kaiserslautern; and “Toward 5G trial” in France with PSA, Orange and Ericsson.
In the demo, we showcased C-V2X’s superior performance in some of the enhanced safety use cases, such as disabled car after blind curve, do-not-pass and road hazard warnings.
Guest blog by George Tsirtsis, Sr Director of Technology at Qualcomm for techUK's "Good to Great Connectivity for the UK" Week.