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EMEA: Driving the connected highway

Laird has a vision for connected highways with connected cars driving along communicating with each other to ensure the safety of their occupants. The reality is that this vision is easier said than done and requires a great deal of technology to bring it to reality.

According to Laird, the connected car cannot exist as intended without a connected highway. The Centre for Economics and Business Research released a study that found the cost of highway congestion in the U.S. and Europe will grow more than 50% by 2030, and result in an annual cost of $239 billion. The number of cars on the road in the next 10 years will grow by 20% and the number of connected vehicles globally is predicted to grow to 250 million by 2020. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is a requirement for the connected highway and the connected car. One way to address that challenge is dedicated short-range communications.

DSRC systems are able to receive and transmit data among vehicles, roads and roadside infrastructure with the appropriate technology in place. DSRC is based on the IEEE 802.11 standards used for Wi-Fi, but when it comes to being used in cars and infrastructure on highways the technology is specifically focused on meeting the requirements for vehicle safety. Unlike Wi-Fi, DSRC is designed to work with moving vehicles and to adjust for environmental challenges related to RF signal reflection, temperature variations and high vibration. (The entire paper can be downloaded via this link.)

This is one step toward the realization of the connected car migrating toward autonomous vehicles, but there are still many hurdles to address. As LTE becomes more widespread in its deployment and as “5G” comes into play, is DSRC the long-term answer or only an incremental one? As V2V expands into vehicle-to-x, who bears the cost of deploying functionality into existing infrastructure? What happens when there’s a mix of cars that can speak to each other and cars that can’t on the roads? And let’s not forget security – is that really another car talking to my car or is it someone with malicious intent? These issues are all being addressed on a daily basis in the automotive and telecom industries. But to say the reality of a connected highway with connected cars is just around the corner would be minimizing the challenges that will take a great deal of collaboration between these two industries to solve. Laird said it offers solutions to some of the challenges along this path.

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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.

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