Four C-V2X trials: Will cellular replace DSRC?
Qualcomm, telcos and automakers testing C-V2X
With U.S. regulators questioning the value of setting aside the 5.9 GHz band for direct short range communications, a long-gestating but not widely adopted vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, will cellular-based connectivity take its place? Based on global trial activity, coupled with domestic cable companies eager to expand Wi-Fi into valuable, unlicensed mid-band spectrum, a shift might be underfoot. Here we take a look at global trials of C-V2X.
In the U.S. a cable industry group wants the Federal Communications Commission to reallocate the 5.9 GHz band from use for DSRC to use for additional Wi-Fi spectrum. And FCC commissioners, in an early take, seem receptive. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said, “It is pure folly to believe that DSRC will ever work as envisioned, as time and technology advancements elsewhere have undermined previous use cases.” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel added that “autonomous and connected vehicles have largely moved beyond [DSRC] technology to newer, market-driven alternatives.” So what is that “market-driven alternative?” Cellular vehicle-to-everything or C-V2X.
C-V2X communicates to a cellular network for cloud-based services like navigation and infotainment; it uses a direct link to communicate with other vehicles, smart infrastructure and pedestrians. C-V2X is based on 3GPP’s Release 14 and builds on the IEEE’s 802.11p standard for DSRC.
In July the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), together with the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, Groupe PSA and Qualcomm Technologies, carried out what 5GAA claimed to be Europe’s first live demonstration of C-V2X operating across vehicles from multiple auto manufacturers. The demonstration exhibited the road safety and traffic efficiency benefits of using C-V2X for vehicle-to-vehicle collision avoidance, as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity to traffic signals and traffic management centers. A total of six demonstrations were shown including: emergency electronic brake lights, intersection collision warnings, across-traffic-turn collision risk warnings, slow vehicle warnings and stationary vehicle warnings, signal phase and timing/signal violation warnings and vulnerable road user (pedestrian) warnings.
In April 5GAA, Qualcomm, Ford and Audi also conducted a multi-vendor C-V2X demo featuring Audi and Ford vehicles, equipped with Qualcomm chipsets, navigating road conditions including obstructed or no visibility, left turn assistance and emergency electronic brake light use cases, in which vehicle-to-vehicle communications alerted surrounding vehicles when cars were turning left or braking.
In March Huawei, Vodafone Germany and Bosch tested the extended usage of C-V2X technology in combination with Bosch’s adaptive cruise control (ACC) driver assistance system. The partners said they had been performing the trial for the past year on the A9 freeway in Bavaria, Germany, using a pre-standard 5G network. The involved firms also highlighted that the real-time integration of C-V2X with ACC driver assistance system will deliver more efficient and safer driving.
In January, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nissan and Japanese telco NTT Docomo tested C-V2X in Japan with an eye on range, reliability and latency.The involved companies also highlighted that the trial results will help develop the ecosystem by providing inputs to the relevant stakeholders, including ITS-related organizations and government agencies.