Qualcomm Tests C-V2X Platform With Ford & Audi

The ability for autonomous vehicles to instantly communicate with other cars, infrastructure and data centers is a key component for the future of smart mobility in the auto industry.

To help bring that vision closer to reality, Qualcomm, Audi, Ford and the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) have come together to unveil a new direct communications platform called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X).

On April 26, the companies offered a demonstration of Qualcomm’s C-V2X platform operating across vehicles manufactured by different OEMs.

Featuring Audi and Ford vehicles incorporating the C-V2X technology, which utilizes a chipset from Qualcomm, the demo put the cars through a series of tests, including situations with obstructed or no visibility.

The tests were designed to showcase the benefits of using C-V2X real-time direct communications on the globally harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) collision avoidance and improved road safety.

The platform offers several security transport layers and application protocols defined by the automotive standards communities, including SAE, ETSI, International Standards Organization (ISO), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1609, and is supported by a broad automotive ecosystem, including 5GAA.

“Coopetition is extremely important in any V2X application, especially with automotive OEMs who not have traditionally collaborated on these types of initiatives,” David Immerman, an associate analyst for IoT at 451 Research, told The Connected Car. “Consortium and technology providers will need to continue to lead the charge to get automotive OEMs and tier suppliers on the same page for V2X.”

Prioritizing data feeds to-and-from the vehicle would be the major challenge as the technology evolved, Immerman said.

“In a vehicle-to-vehicle mission critical application, such as collision avoidance, data packets from each vehicle in this instance must supersede transmitted data in fractions of a second,” he explained. “Ensuring this performance reliability as C-V2X inevitably scales will be important for those betting on this technology architecture.”

In the coming years, the market will see C-V2X providing a pivotal role in less-latency sensitive cloud-enabled services such as smarter navigation applications that leverage data insight from the surrounding environment in the short term, Immerman said.

The 5GAA refers to this form of C-V2X as device-to-network and is poised to take off as the vehicle becomes more connected and eventually autonomous. Immerman pointed out the amount of data coming off this future vehicle on a daily basis will skyrocket.

“In addition, the role of C-V2X in latency sensitive V2V applications — for example automated emergency braking — will likely take some time to advance out of the proof of concept stage,” he said.

The process to embed C-V2X enabling technologies into vehicle production lifecycles, and have real-world impact on the roads, is going to take some time.

“Collaborating is crucial in this environment because value only is realized in a V2V system if automotive OEMs have the same framework and can seamlessly transmit the necessary packet data from one another,” Immerman said.

A lot of adoption would also ride on alternative wireless V2X technologies currently being adopted by several OEMs and used in US and EU transportation systems, known as DSRC, he noted.

“I think we will see a hybrid of DSRC and C-V2X in the short term as cellular pushes closer towards 5G,” Immerman said.

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