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Inside the Development of Connected Car Networks

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April 17, 2020—ADAPT has reported on how the development of connective technologies are foundational to autonomous vehicle development. One decision still to be made is the standardized platform on which connected cars will operate.

On the C-V2X side, telecom companies are leading the way in development, as the technology relies on their existing infrastructure. One of those companies, Qualcomm, recently updated followers on its progress.

Standards consortium 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) announced its Release 16 which is meant to support more advanced connectivity features with 5G-network compatibility.

Catching Up...

Here's a quick glossary of some of the terms related to this issue:

  • C-V2X: Cellular vehicle-to-everything. A network based on cellular technology for vehicles to communicate with people, other cars, infrastructure, the internet and anything else.
  • DSRC: Dedicated short-range communication is more akin to wifi and is a preceding (though different) technology to C-V2X
    • CITS: Cooperative intelligence transportation system is how the Europeans identify DSRC technology.
  • 5.9GHz frequency range: 75 megahertz of this band were set aside by the FCC for vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Originally intended for DSRC, space on the band is now being considered for C-V2X use. 
  • V2X: Vehicle-to-everything

Vehicle-to-everything can include:

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V)
  • Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I)
  • Vehicle-to-people/pedestrian (V2P)
  • Vehicle-to-cloud (V2C)

3GPP unites seven telecommunications standard development organizations and offers an environment for them to produce reports and technologies. 3GPP uses a system of "releases,"  which provide developers with a platform for the implementation of features at a given point and then allow for the addition of new functionality in subsequent Releases.

3GPP has previously released 14 and 15. Release 14 introduced direct communication modes that standardized how vehicles communicate with everything around them over a short range without relying on the cellular network. Release 15 covered the 5G phase 1 and added transmit diversity.

One topic addressed is the use of mobile network connectivity to help boost "advanced use cases," or more autonomous capabilities in vehicles. Previous 3GPP releases supported V2N (vehicle-to-network) capabilities for the spreading quick emergency messages if needed. Release 16 dives into the use of these networks for advanced use cases. In short, the release is saying that the technology is able to support both quick emergency communications and advanced driving features.

From the Qualcomm article:

The direct communication mode in Release 16 NR C-V2X sidelink offers major enhancements in terms of new short-range features enabling advanced applications to complement these basic safety use cases. We believe the combination of Release 14/15 C-V2X and the NR-based sidelink in Release 16 will provide a comprehensive 5G C-V2X solution covering both basic safety and advanced applications; no solutions have been announced as the specifications are just being finalized.

V2N has been available for roughly 20 years, supporting telematics, automatic crash notification, infotainment, cloud services such as map and other software updates, route guidance with traffic information, and more recently, remote supervisory control (teleoperation) for driving and parking.

Some advanced use cases include the coordination of multiple vehicles on the road. According to the article, this could mean negotiated intersection crossings (resolving the ambiguity that occurs at a four-way stop through intent sharing, thus improving traffic efficiency), coordinated lane changes leveraging lower latency communication, better positioning accuracy and on-the-fly distance-based group formations.


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