If you’ve attended CES in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the ever-growing presence of automobile manufacturers and auto-related technologies. Whether they’re electric, petrol or hybrids, cars are still cool. For nearly a decade, Qualcomm has participated in the annual tech fest in the desert and demonstrated how cellular connectivity and Qualcomm Snapdragon compute capabilities can redefine the vehicle experience. Now, working closely with automotive industry leaders, we’re helping drive another major automotive transformation: Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything, or C-V2X, technology. If you don’t recall the aspects of C-V2X, check out my recent blog post Top 10 things you may not know about C-V2X. The post explains how the technology is expected to become an important technology in terms of automotive safety and tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles, when vehicles are able to communicate directly with each other as well as the infrastructure around them.
After we announced our first C-V2X solution and several trials in 2017, we announced our first C-V2X trial in Japan in collaboration with Continental, Ericsson, Nissan, NTT DOCOMO, INC. and OKI at CES 2018. As C-V2X continues to gain ecosystem support, we expect C-V2X to be ready for commercial deployment in vehicles for 2019. How will C-V2X make a difference?
Imagine this scenario: a vehicle’s driver experiences a medical emergency. Her wearable health tracker informs the vehicle of the situation. As she pulls over to the side of the road, the vehicle alerts nearby vehicles through direct Vehicle-To-Vehicle (V2V) communication to provide non-line-of-sight warning about the stopped vehicle. Simultaneously, emergency responders receive a preauthorized release of patient information and medical history through Vehicle-To-Network (V2N) communication, and an emergency vehicle is dispatched. To provide safe and efficient passage for the ambulance as it races down a busy avenue, notifications are also transmitted to roadside infrastructure—such as a connected traffic light — via Vehicle-To-Infrastructure (V2I) communication. Simultaneously, notifications are sent directly to vehicles and pedestrians, so that they are seamlessly redirected and advised to clear the area. Is the story over? No, it gets better.
As the emergency vehicle approaches an intersection behind a large truck which blocks the view of that intersection, the truck shares the intersection view with the emergency vehicle through direct V2V communication, assuring the approaching rescue team that the intersection is clear of cars and pedestrians. Furthermore, the intersection’s connected traffic signal knows about the approaching emergency vehicle thanks to direct V2I communication and adjusts its signal phase and timing to grant the right-of-way to the responders. The emergency vehicle crosses the intersection safely and approaches the incident in minutes, where the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) stabilize the patient and transport her to a nearby hospital. Sooner rather than later, the streets return to normal traffic flow.
The scenario may sound like science fiction, but it’s closer to reality than you may think. If you’re at CES, you might recall seeing this demonstration at the Qualcomm booth. The above demo was live streamed from our C-V2X trial in San Diego. Ford also mentioned the scenario during its CES keynote Tuesday morning. Coincidence? No. Ford and Qualcomm Technologies recently announced several activities to make this scenario a very real possibility. The two companies are currently working together on the first announced U.S. C-V2X trials in San Diego (see video below), along with additional trials in Detroit. Both utilize the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset, Qualcomm Technologies’ first announced commercial solution.
Already, Ford has 700,000 connected vehicles on the road. By next year, every new vehicle it makes for the U.S. will be connected. C-V2X can be enabled using the 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.
It’s not only Ford and Qualcomm, but a comprehensive ecosystem that is working on the technology to make it happen, including other global automobile OEMs, tier-1 suppliers, test equipment vendors, chipset manufacturers, telecom suppliers, traffic signal suppliers, road operators, and wireless operators.
For example, we are showing the results of our collaboration with McCain, a leader in traffic infrastructure and intelligent transportation solutions (ITS), at CES. In the Qualcomm Technologies C-V2X demonstration, we showed how C-V2X can provide a safe and efficient path for emergency vehicles by working with McCain to send information to their traffic signal equipped with the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X solution.
Also at CES, a leading V2X software stack provider, Savari announced that they are working with Qualcomm and providing key software components for C-V2X modules to deliver a comprehensive C-V2X solution using the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset.
These are just few recent examples. We previously announced how we have been working with several global car OEMs, tier-1 suppliers, test equipment vendors, traffic signal suppliers, road operators, and wireless operators. This broad ecosystem support and our accelerated technology development only strengthens our expectations that C-V2X will be ready for commercial deployment in vehicles in 2019.
Evolution to 5G NR for autonomous driving
C-V2X Rel-14 has a strong evolution path to 5G NR-based C-V2X, which will augment Rel-14’s safety use cases with complementary as well as new capabilities, while maintaining backward compatibility. The 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, trajectory/intent sharing, and 3D HD map updates
At CES, we showed a simulated demo for the trajectory/intention sharing use case for autonomous driving. This demo shows how 5G NR-based C-V2X will help vehicles perform safer and quicker maneuvers as they are aware of other vehicles’ intent and “know” the planned movements of surrounding vehicles
We are excited to show how C-V2X will reshape the future of transportation and autonomous driving. To learn more, stay tuned for our upcoming 5G NR-based C-V2X webinar.