The 5GAA communication technology could be ready for deployment by 2020 (Image: 5GAA)

The 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), Audi, Ford and Qualcomm Technologies have demonstrated Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything (C-V2X) real-time direct communications. This will be compatible with future 5G cellular technology, is said to promise benefits for road safety, automated driving and traffic efficiency, and could be ready for industry deployment by 2020.

The showcase in Washington DC, involving Audi and Ford vehicles equipped with the Qualcomm C-V2X chipset, demonstrated its application in scenarios with obstructed or no visibility such as left-hand turns; scenarios involving pedestrians and vulnerable road users; and alerts to other vehicles about activation of emergency electronic brake lights. Communications with traffic signal controllers were also shown.

“We are committed to accelerating automotive innovation and enabling carmakers to deliver safe and connected vehicles, and we strongly believe that C-V2X can offer significant improvements in road safety for people worldwide,” said Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm’s VP of product management, in a statement. “After years spearheading the development of C-V2X we are ready for its rollout in collaboration with leading automakers such as Audi and Ford, and the larger auto industry.”

C-V2X utilizes the global 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum and does not, the 5GAA says, depend on cellular operator network involvement, credentials or coverage. Initial field tests have shown “a significant range, reliability and performance advantage… with more than twice the range and improved reliability compared to 802.11p radio technology” (the basis for current wireless V2X standards). It is also expected to be more cost-efficient than competing technologies, as its functionality will be integrated into standard-issue cellular modems.

“C-V2X is ready to improve road safety with deployment in production vehicles and road infrastructure as soon as 2020, leveraging a state-of-the-art proven radio with decade-long developed automotive software protocols,” said Christoph Voigt, 5GAA chairman.

Gerhard Stanzl, head of predevelopment smart mobility and machine learning, Audi Electronics Venture, added: “C-V2X is critical to enhance road safety, and also gives us a look into the key role that vehicle-to-vehicle and 5G wireless technologies play in the future of Audi, and the automotive industry in general, to support autonomous driving. This interoperability demonstration marks a major milestone on the road to safer driving and we look forward to working alongside the extensive automotive ecosystem in helping accelerate C-V2X deployment globally.”

Ford’s executive director for connected vehicle platform and product, Don Butler, said: “With its ability to safely and securely connect vehicles, along with its evolution into 5G, C-V2X is integral to Ford’s vision for transportation and the cities of the future, in which all cars and infrastructure collaborate speaking the same language. We are very encouraged by preliminary test results which support our belief that C-V2X has superior V2X communications capabilities. We are also very pleased to see strong ecosystem support of product roadmaps that accelerates time to market for C-V2X.”

The interoperability of C-V2X will be demonstrated again at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s World Meeting in Detroit, June 4-7.

-Farah Alkhalisi