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Connected Vehicles and V2X Vehicle to everything technology

Today 1.35M people die each year in automobile crashes globally; 38,000 in the U.S. alone, the equivalent of two 747s crashing in mid-air every single week. Counterintuitively, despite the COVID-19 pandemic leading to fewer drivers on the roads and a significant reduction in the number of miles driven, the latest U.S. government data show traffic fatalities have surged to their highest level in more than a decade, alongside an increase in crashes involving impairment, speeding, red-light running, aggressiveness, and non-seatbelt use.

 

Automakers are on a mission to enhance the safety, economy and comfort of their vehicles. These days, more and more devices – even simple ones – are becoming ‘connected’, allowing functionality beyond what would normally be possible with their small size. While vehicles have been able to receive information such as radio signals and satellite navigation for some time, few have been truly ‘connected’ and capable of two-way communication. While recent innovations have made huge strides in this direction, connectivity is seen as the means to take things to the next level.

 

V2X stands for ‘Vehicle-to-Everything,’ or ‘vehicle to X,’ and refers to passing information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle and vice versa. V2X will use a mesh network approach, with each vehicle being a node on the network, capable of sending and receiving messages as well as relaying them, thereby creating an expansive network where it’s needed most – in highly populated areas.

 

Connected and fully automated vehicles are expected to revolutionize transportation systems of the future on a global scale, significantly improving road safety and traffic efficiency, and fostering investments in the automotive market. V2X systems share data such as position and speed to the surrounding vehicles and infrastructure, resulting in the reduction of collisions and accidents.

 

V2X technology also enhances traffic efficiency by providing warnings for upcoming traffic congestion, proposing alternative routes and ensuring eco-friendly driving by reducing CO2 emissions through adaptive cruise control and smarter transportation management.

 

In addition to safety benefits, V2X technology offers a range of everyday convenience advantages. For example, V2X systems integrate automatic payments for tolls, parking, and similar fees.

 

 

V2X technology covers:

  • V2I, or ‘Vehicle-to-Infrastructure,’ is the exchange of data between a car and equipment installed alongside roads, generally called a ‘roadside unit’ (RSU). V2I can be typically used to broadcast traffic conditions and emergency information to drivers.
  • V2N or “Vehicle-to-Network” is when a vehicle accesses the network for cloud-based services, also known as V2C “vehicle-to-Cloud.”
  • V2V or ‘Vehicle-to-Vehicle’ relates to the transfer of data between vehicles. V2V is a subset of V2X, and refers to the communication of parameters such as speed, direction, location and braking between vehicles. Compared to what sensors can provide to the car, information transmitted via V2V technology can come from cars a few hundred meters ahead or even hidden cars from behind trucks or buildings.
  • V2P, or “Vehicle-to-Pedestrian,” is the exchange of data between the car and pedestrians.

 How does V2X works?

Many vehicles have some form of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that incorporates a multitude of sensors, permitting a range of warnings to the driver and, in an increasing number of cases, semi-autonomous control of the vehicle. The V2X system will become part of the ADAS system and act as an additional sensor, although the inputs will be over-the-air messages. The ADAS system will be able to act upon these inputs in the same way as inputs from a local sensor.

One of the focus areas for ADAS has been vision systems for detecting obstacles in the path of the vehicle. While these systems are now highly sophisticated and able to detect and even identify obstacle types, they cannot see around corners. Fixed hazards, whether permanent such as railway crossings or temporary such as road construction, could be equipped with V2X transmitters meaning that drivers would know about their presence before they could be seen, whether they’re around the corner or hidden by fog.

As well as fulfilling their primary purpose of enhancing safety, V2X systems are also able to enhance comfort and convenience. For example, simple sensors in parking lots can detect empty spaces and direct vehicles towards them via V2X technology.

Economy can benefit from V2X as well – as areas become congested, this information can be passed to the satellite navigation system to allow (or force) the vehicle to navigate around the busy area. Similarly, air quality sensors placed in areas with high levels of pedestrianisation can indicate that air quality has become poor and instruct internal combustion engine vehicles to take a different route.

V2X systems will follow a path of evolution and, in early incarnations, will mostly provide warning signals to the driver. As the technology evolves, it will become more closely coupled to the vehicle’s systems, initially controlling the route via the satnav system and, eventually, taking control of the vehicle movement

Standardized V2X communication

The automotive industry has been working with regulatory bodies to standardize V2X communication. The objective being to ensure all stakeholders can manage interoperability between vehicle brands and the road infrastructure to get standardized messages.

In most countries, governments consider V2X technology as a critical factor in reducing road fatalities. As a result, they are pushing the industry to shorten the deployment schedule for the technology.
For car manufacturers, V2X, and more specifically V2V, is a milestone in the path towards fully autonomous cars.

The main involvement of governments and standards bodies has been with regard to the communications protocols.  American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) selected Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) for V2V. This is a Wi-Fi derivative (802.11p) specifically developed for fast-moving objects that can operate in Non-Line of Sight conditions and harsh weather.

Following backing from the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and lobbying groups, 75MHz of spectrum at 5.9GHz was allocated in 2006. Much later, in 2019, the European Parliament confirmed its backing of DSRC for V2I and V2V. The current US administration has not re-ratified DSRC and appears to be letting the market make the final decision.

The technology industry appears to be favouring C-V2X (cellular V2X) that uses 3GPP mobile radio.  Europe and the Global Automakers trade association (which includes Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Kia and Toyota) continue to officially back DSRC, while Volkswagen has tied its flag firmly to the 5GLTE mast.

Japan has decided on DSRC, but will use the 760MHz band, making its system incompatible with the rest of the world, and the final important market, China, has settled on C-V2X and seems to be pushing ahead in this direction.

 

Challenges for designers

V2X relies upon a mesh network being created between vehicles and fixed infrastructure to give the necessary coverage without having to deploy (expensive) transmitters specifically dedicated to the system. However, to do this successfully, designers have to overcome a number of challenges:

  • Keep up with evolving & uncertain standards, geographies & political climate. With multiple standards and frequencies being proposed for the mesh, producing a global design will be challenging, unless multiple designs are created.
  • Addressing the challenges of developing a reliable radio transmitter / receiver for use in the noisy electrical environment of a modern vehicle – especially electric vehicles that have both high voltages and high currents present. The increasing use of mobile devices in vehicles further exacerbates this challenge.
  • Develop, deploy & support solutions safely, securely & reliably. Ensuring that, although the system has external connectivity, it is safe and secure with regard to malicious interference and / or hacking.

A further challenge lies within the in-vehicle networking (IVN). As data rates increase and the amount of data to be transmitted grows even faster, mainly due to the implementation of multiple vision sensors as part of an ADAS system, achieving the low-latency communications needed within a V2X system requires a new approach.

Ultra-low latency (below 10 ms), ultra-high reliability (near 100%) and high data rate (in the
order of Gbps) communications are demanded by most V2X safety applications. In addition, the inherent dynamics in vehicular environments related to the rapidly changing network topology, the fast-varying wireless channel and possible intermittent connectivity, further increase the system design complexity and overall need an end-to-end comprehensive approach. An optimal end-to-end chain of applications and (edge/cloud) services, radio access and core network functionalities is required to tackle V2X demands and challenges and to maximise the benefits of
future investments in the automotive market

In general, the automotive industry is settling on Ethernet as the best solution. It is widely-used in commercial, industrial and residential applications which means there’s a good level of understanding of the technology and a large ecosystem of components, software, tools and design resources available, which will speed up the design process and reduce cost. However, deployment will not be without its challenges, especially ensuring that the implementation is not susceptible to the extensive EMI present in modern vehicles.

Connected vehicles will require reliable and ubiquitous connectivity

The Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC) makes 3 significant observations regarding the demands of the connected vehicle:
1. Connected vehicles will generate around US$150B in annual revenue.
2. The number of connected vehicles will grow to around 100M globally.
3. The data volume transmitted between vehicles and the cloud will be around 100 petabytes per month.

In the future with connected vehicles, the data traffic will be vast, and new network infrastructures and computing architectures will be needed for processing and storage. Vehicles will generate and consume data in various scenarios such as vehicle to everything (V2X), the vehicle as a living room for infotainment and e-commerce, and autonomous driving. To support these scenarios, reliable and ubiquitous connectivity is essential.

A common approach to vehicle connectivity is to integrate modems and modules that interface with existing terrestrial networks, such as the 4th Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network or an emerging 5th Generation (5G) network.

5G-based V2X technologies

The mass adoption of 5G-based V2X technologies has the potential to significantly improve the overall safety of our increasingly chaotic and dangerous streets, allowing for advanced levels of connectivity, data sharing and improved coordination between cars and infrastructure, bicycles, pedestrians, and scooters.

 

A 5G enabled network would have the processing capability and download speeds to warn vehicles of hazardous traffic issues, even predict dangerous situations far ahead of the driver’s line of sight. It could provide information to drivers – whether human or autonomous – to avoid crashes and even steer clear of those situations and intersections that are most likely to cause them.

 

5G supports massive amounts of low latency communications in real time, something which is extremely important for our future transportation ecosystem as cars could one day ultimately send upwards of thousands of gigabytes of data each day, whether to cars, traffic lights or other pieces of roadside infrastructure like stop signs.

 

With the ability to quickly download real-time data on the latest traffic information, maps, weather conditions, construction hot spots – the kind of real-time information that will allow drivers to make better and quicker decisions that optimize their route and where they are going, 5G and V2X can enable this Jetsons-like future to become a reality.

 

To realize this potential however, it’s not enough for cars to talk to one another and their environment, they need to ensure that they are speaking the same language, are not interrupted and can trust what one another is saying.

 

Ensuring that cars with V2X and 5G-enabled features can remain intact, even as they travel across different networks and edge infrastructure between regions, is no easy feat but an absolute must for an automaker to be confident that the feature it rolls out to customers works 100 per cent of the time, regardless of network or location, particularly if it’s used to deliver information about traffic hazards, such as accidents and road construction, both for driver and pedestrian safety and navigation.

V2X and the Security/privacy challenge

Meanwhile, the security of V2X communication is also a key topic. For this reason, Security Credential Management Systems (SCMS) which secure V2X communications and protect both the safety of messages transmitted or received have an important role to play. SCMS’ secure the communication of vehicles with each other and with roadside equipment in two ways: by means of digital signatures, which protect messages against manipulation and unauthorized access and by means of certificates, which identify the respective sender as trustworthy. SCMS’ make it possible for OEMs, suppliers, municipal infrastructure makers and roadside equipment manufacturers to implement 5G-based V2X security protocols in their automotive embedded systems, ultimately providing trusted authentication and peace of mind to all those across the transportation ecosystem.

 

Regulators request the user’s privacy to be protected and preserved, so the drivers’ journey cannot be easily tracked or reconstructed by listening and compiling all messages a car sent and received in a period of time.

 

In order to spur mass acceptance, and thus adoption, it’s incumbent upon the entire industry to show consumers the incredible innovation of what’s possible through data-sharing, and more importantly, prove over time that their vehicle data will be protected, secured, and utilized in ways that respect their privacy and adhere to compliance regulations, such as CCPA and GDPR, rather than being without their knowledge.

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.avnet.com/wps/portal/abacus/solutions/markets/automotive-and-transportation/automotive/communications-and-connectivity/v2x-communication/

https://www.thefastmode.com/expert-opinion/24909-promises-and-pitfalls-on-the-road-to-5g-based-v2x-technology

 

About Rajesh Uppal

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