Believe it or not, the idea of talking cars on our streets and highways everywhere just got one step closer to reality.
Yesterday, the 3GPP announced the completion of the initial Cellular V2X (C-V2X) standard, which focuses on V2X Direct Communication. Further enhancements to support additional V2X operational scenarios will follow in 3GPP Release 14, targeted for completion in March 2017. In addition, today, key auto and mobile industry players including Audi AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm Incorporated, announced the formation of the global, cross-industry 5G Automotive Association (5GAA). One of the key objectives of the association is to develop, test and promote communications solutions, such as C-V2X communication and its strong evolution to 5G. The Association is creating real cross-industry momentum around the development and deployment of connected car technologies, working to support national and regional policies in Europe and globally.
The completion of the initial C-V2X specification in 3GPP represents an incredibly important milestone for the role of the cellular ecosystem in vehicular communications. C-V2X is becoming a viable modern alternative to IEEE 802.11p and the basis for significant advancements in the future as the cellular industry moves toward 5G.
— George Tsirtsis, Qualcomm Technologies C-V2X Engineering Lead
In my last blog post I covered how C-V2X was introduced in 3GPP Release 14 by evolving LTE Direct and LTE Broadcast to meet the requirements for automated driving. C-V2X will serve as the foundation for the safe, connected vehicle of the future, giving vehicles the ability to communicate with each other (V2V), with pedestrians’ devices (V2P), with roadside infrastructure (V2I) and with the cellular network (V2N).
C-V2X defines two new transmission modes that together enable a broad range of use cases:
- C-V2X Direct communications – Enhances LTE Direct device-to-device communications to enable direct exchange of real-time information between vehicles, road side infrastructure and/or pedestrians’ devices.
- C-V2X Network communications - Leverages existing LTE infrastructure with ubiquitous coverage to bring additional services, such as finding parking or advanced accident alerts
The coexistence of the two modes of operation delivers more advanced deployment scenarios and services to vehicles, opening up new opportunities and diverse business models for operators.
In this post, I want to elaborate on why C-V2X is gaining momentum and support from key global industry players:
1) Strong ecosystem – C-V2X benefits from the fast-moving and established mobile industry
The mobile ecosystem moves quickly to meet customer expectations, while keeping backward compatibility in mind. The fast evolution and high penetration rate of mobile devices have resulted in accelerated innovation and faster adoption of new technologies. The timely completion of the initial C-V2X standard is a testament to the fast pace of innovation in the mobile industry. This uptick in pace is penetrating the automotive industry, enabling a growing set of use cases for the connected vehicles and automated driving. The collaboration between the mobile and automotive industry has been established and the 5GAA will further foster this collaboration.
2) Superior performance – Designed to operate with or without cellular network coverage
C-V2X Direct communications enhances LTE Direct device-to-device communications with innovations to exchange real-time information between vehicles traveling at high speed, in high-density traffic, and even outside of mobile network coverage areas — enabling safer driving through true direct communications on designated ITS spectrum.
Several innovations have been introduced to allow direct V2X communication in the absence of infrastructure (i.e., without cellular network coverage). For example, the standard allows scheduling resources and interference management of V2X traffic based on distributed algorithms implemented between vehicles without network assistance. Also, vehicles can use Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers for synchronization instead of relying on cellular network coverage. When in coverage, V2X Direct Communication can be augmented by V2N’s extended range and network assistance.
All these enhancements result in dramatic performance improvements over those enabled by IEEE 802.11p-based systems, with the ability to operate at higher relative speed up to 500 km/h and at higher node densities.
3) Strong evolution path – Continuous enhancements to accommodate new use cases
Unlike older V2X technologies, C-V2X has a technology evolution roadmap, providing a unified connectivity platform for safer vehicles of tomorrow. The C-V2X roadmap will benefit enormously from the strong LTE evolution path and the introduction of 5G technologies in the coming years, and from the mobile ecosystem as a whole. The evolution of C-V2X is already being discussed and we envision a growing set of use cases, including ultra-low latency vehicle platooning, high throughput sensor sharing, video see-through, and other automated driving requirements.
Qualcomm is driving C-V2X on the path to 5G
We are very pleased to see these positive developments. Our unique position at the intersection of the automotive and communications industries allows us to pave the road to our vision of the always-connected, more autonomous vehicle of the future by pioneering C-V2X technologies, driving a rich roadmap to 5G, and bringing new levels of on-device intelligence. We are actively driving the C-V2X work in 3GPP, which builds on our leadership in LTE Direct and LTE Broadcast to pioneer C-V2X technologies. Learn more about C-V2X here.
As a co-founder of the 5GAA Alliance, we are vey pleased about the role of the association in fostering collaboration between the automotive and communications industries. We look forward to more positive developments in this space and more collaboration between governments, as well as, telecommunication and automotive industries.