Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything communications or C-V2X continues to gain ecosystem support and is expected to become an important technology for automotive safety and tomorrow’s autonomous driving. Today, AT&T, Ford, Nokia, and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. announced the first US C-V2X trials in San Diego with the support of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, the City of Chula Vista, and McCain, Inc. The video below highlights Ford’s perspective on C-V2X.
This news is just one example of how auto manufacturers, the wireless ecosystem, road operators, and municipalities are closely collaborating to accelerate C-V2X technology development and commercialization.
In fact, momentum behind C-V2X technology can be seen throughout the auto and tech industries. For instance, 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) membership has reached more than 60 members including automakers, Tier-1 suppliers, mobile operators, semiconductor companies, test equipment vendors, telecom suppliers, traffic signal suppliers, and road operators.
Following Audi, Ford, Groupe PSA, and SAIC announcing their support of Qualcomm’s first C-V2X commercial solution—the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset and reference platform—more news started to break about automotive Tier-1 suppliers using our C-V2X solutions for testing and as the foundation for their upcoming commercial implementations. First Continental with its trials announcement and a week and a half ago LG Electronics (LG) announced that it will be working with Qualcomm Technologies to develop next-generation connected car solutions—with support from a research center established to accelerate adoption of C-V2X.
Finally, Rohde & Schwarz announced a collaboration with us to test and demonstrate the interoperability of their C-V2X device emulator with the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset.
Why is C-V2X gaining support from key automotive players? Because it’s an important technology for saving lives as well as enabling autonomous driving.
Top 10 things you may not know about C-V2X
1. C-V2X will be ready for commercial deployment in cars for 2020: C-V2X is getting broad ecosystem support. 3GPP finalized C-V2X Rel-14 specifications in March 2017 and 5GAA has been helping define and test the protocols and specifications of C-V2X technology by bringing together diverse players from different industries. Engineering and field operational tests for C-V2X are being undertaken around the world by a host of automakers: in addition to the aforementioned performance tests in the U.S. with Ford, there were the ConVeX field tests in the EU (in collaboration with Audi) and the Towards 5G trial in France (with PSA).
2. C-V2X is a modern technology with superior radio performance: Other V2X technologies were developed a decade ago. Improvements in modulation and coding as well as better receivers and overall advances in technology driven by LTE allows C-V2X to offer increased communication range (~2X), better non-line-of-sight (NLOS) performance, enhanced reliability (lower packet error rate), higher capacity, and better congestion control in denser environments compared to IEEE 802.11p-based radio technology, which is used by DSRC and ITS-G5. The enhancements in C-V2X lead to superior performance in different scenarios (e.g., varying road/traffic conditions and vehicles speeds) for key safety use cases today and autonomous driving in the future.
3. C-V2X is the only V2X technology with a clear evolution path to 5G and is backward/forward compatible: C-V2X Rel-14 has a strong evolution to 5G NR-based C-V2X, which will augment Rel-14 with complementary as well as new capabilities, while maintaining backward compatibility. C-V2X evolution will incorporate 5G NR features, providing high throughput, wideband carrier support, ultra-low latency and high reliability for autonomous driving and advanced use cases, such as high throughput sensor sharing, intent sharing and 3D HD map updates. The C-V2X technology platform, from Rel-14 to 5G NR-based C-V2X, is safer, more robust, and more reliable than previous generation technologies. Plus, it can offer richer, differentiated experiences. All this makes the car a primary use case as we usher in the world of 5G and autonomous driving.
4. C-V2X is more cost efficient than other V2X technologies: Most new vehicles are expected to feature embedded cellular connectivity in 2021, and some automakers are set on enabling virtually all of their vehicles with cellular modems in the near future. C-V2X can be enabled using cellular modem technology expected to be available in the car, benefiting automakers with economies of scale—reducing system complexity and making C-V2X implementation extremely cost-effective. Also, by leveraging existing cellular infrastructure for network communications (V2N), C-V2X can combine the capabilities of roadside units (RSUs) and the cellular network to help improve safety and support autonomy (e.g., providing local- and wide-area road condition information and real-time map updates). Combined RSU and cellular infrastructure can reduce deployment cost, resulting in important economic benefits. Cellular players’ extensive experience in deploying, managing, and maintaining complex communication systems will not only provide cost savings, but can also enable new business models and service opportunities.
5. C-V2X is a safe technology with predictable performance: 3GPP defines rigorous minimum performance specifications that ensure a predictable, uniform and guaranteed in-field experience to enable applications as critical as road safety. For example, 3GPP defines minimum requirements of Block Error Rate (BLER) to guarantee reliable communication for different channel conditions and speeds up to 500km/h. Unlike IEEE 802.11p-based technologies, every C-V2X transceiver/chipset vendor must comply with those specifications leading to predictable and uniform performance in the field.
6. C-V2X is designed to work on ITS spectrum for saving lives: C-V2X defines two complementary communication modes that together enable a broad range of use cases. For active safety, C-V2X Direct Communications uses the harmonized, dedicated ITS spectrum for vehicles to communicate directly with each other (Vehicle-to-Vehicle or V2V), to pedestrians (Vehicle-to-Pedestrian or V2P), to roadway infrastructure (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure or V2I). For infotainment and latency-tolerant informational safety use cases (e.g., road incident one kilometer ahead), C-V2X also allows vehicles to communicate to the cloud via the mobile network (Vehicle-to-Network or V2N) on the cellular spectrum. Safety messages (e.g., road hazard warnings) are sent using low latency transmission direct communications in the globally harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS band without being impacted by V2N communications that are sent on the commercial cellular spectrum bands for telematics and infotainment applications.
7. C-V2X is designed for low-latency direct communications without relying on network assistance: C-V2X Direct Communications provides enhanced range and reliability without relying on cellular network assistance or coverage. It enables exchanging real-time safety messages for V2V, V2I, and V2P without requiring any kind of cellular subscription.
8. C-V2X is designed for high-speed vehicular use cases: From its earliest implementation, cellular was designed to support high speeds. Building on 15 years of telematics standardization and deployment, 3GPP C-V2X R-14 made further enhancements for high-speed vehicular use cases (e.g., enhanced signal design) to support vehicular use cases up to 500km/h relative speeds in varying road conditions.
9. C-V2X features robust synchronization even in the absence of GNSS: C-V2X has robust mechanisms that enable cost-efficient synchronization from different sources, even in the absence of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). In fact, all V2X technologies rely on GNSS for location information, which is necessary for operation of ITS safety applications. Obtaining microsecond-level timing is much more reliable than getting positioning information from GNSS since timing is robust to multi-path errors. Additionally, timing can be tracked with a single satellite. This allows timing to be received in tunnels and underground parking (many tunnels already have adequate GNSS coverage to enable positioning). In the absence of GNSS, 3GPP has defined a detailed protocol for vehicles to use different synchronization sources, including other cars, eNodeB, and RSU timing. Hundreds of millions of LTE devices in the field today prove that cellular technologies can meet the synchronization requirement in a cost-efficient manner.
10. C-V2X is designed with a focus on security: Secure communications is very important for any V2X applications. C-V2X benefits from established security and transport layers and application protocols defined by the automotive standards communities, including International Organization for Standardization (ISO), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE 1609 Working Group).
The momentum behind C-V2X is building. Stay tuned for our upcoming C-V2X blog posts and announcements.