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Exploring the new horizons 5G brings to connected vehicles and V2X communication

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(Image credit: Image Credit: Mikko Lemola / Shutterstock)

Connected vehicle technology is at the core of innovation in ICT in the auto segment. 

Vehicular interconnectivity is one interesting solution that has resulted in the reduction of road accidents worldwide, which unfortunately claimed 1.3 million lives in 2018. Now, we have vehicle-to-everything technology (V2X) to thank for integrating 5G technology and automotive software solutions to develop a new generation of smart automobiles that improve driver experience and reposition automakers for success.

How vehicle connection enables communication with the external environment 

Vehicles are now experiencing increased interconnectivity, interacting with navigation apps, in-vehicle sensors, traffic lights, parking amenities, and other automotive systems. Cars coordinate with their surroundings through certain capturing devices like dashboard cameras and radar sensors. Connected vehicles collect vast amounts of data like mileage, damage to geolocation components, tire pressure, fuel gauge status, vehicle lock status, roadway conditions, and parking conditions.

Connected vehicle architecture for automotive industry solutions are powered by automotive software solutions such as GPS, DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication), Wi-Fi, IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment), Big Data, machine learning, IoT, AI, SaaS platforms, and broadband connectivity.

V2X technology manifests in the form of synchronization amongst vehicles (V2V), vehicles and infrastructure (V2I), and vehicles and other traffic participants. By extension, these innovations can also accommodate pedestrians and cyclists (V2P). In short , V2X architecture enables cars to "talk" to other machines beyond it.

Vehicle to Navigation Systems: data extracted from the map, GPS, and the detectors of other vehicles can compute arrival time for a vehicle carrying goods, accident location for the insurance claims process, historical data for city planning and carbon emission reduction, and lots more.

Vehicle to Traffic Infrastructure: this covers signage, traffic prompts, tolling units, workplaces, and academic areas.

Vehicle to Public Transportation Systems: this generates data relating to public interchange systems and traffic conditions, while recommending alternate routes when replanning trips.

The benefits of V2X integration with 5G  

5G is the 5th generation rollout of broadband cellular connectivity. Fundamentally, it works at a higher frequency range than 4G, resulting in a connection speed that's 100 times better than 4G. With this capacity upgrade, 5G delivers greater functionality.

It processes data quickly, delivering 4ms in regular situations and 1ms at peak speed to ensure rapid response of connected devices.

5G can cover the connectivity requirements of 1 million smart devices per square mile. 

Sadly, in the intervening years of its 2019 release, the upgrade has been mired in controversies and difficulties, the height of which is its relationship with the recent global health crisis. However, despite its rocky start, 5G is now operational in 500 cities in the United States. Global penetration and adoption of the network is imminent as projections for 2025 suggest that 5G will facilitate one-fifth of the world's internet.

The deployment of 5G in V2X technology is inspired by the migration of cars to cellular infrastructure (C-V2X) - the latest and highest industry convention for connected and automated vehicles. Renowned automaking powerhouses like Audi, Ford, and Tesla have already fitted their vehicles with C-V2X tech. For context:

Mercedes Benz has collaborated with Ericsson and Telefónica Germany to install 5G automated connected vehicles during the production phase.

BMW has teamed up with Samsung and HARMAN to announce the BMW iNEXT, imbued with a 5G-based Telematics Control Unit (TCU).

Audi in 2017 announced that its vehicles will be able to interact with traffic lights to alert drivers when they change from red to green.

The potential for C-V2X is so boundless that its components are already used in over 500 cities, counties, and academic districts, providing autonomous connectivity to traffic systems, energy infrastructure, and construction facilities.

Major V2X use cases in cars 

With C-V2X comes transportation safety, efficiency and an elevated driver/pedestrian experience (a good example is an acoustic vehicle alerting system). It allows for investors and think tanks to explore novel avenues for large-scale development across a plethora of scenarios. By initiating "digital telepathy" using sensors and historical data, for example, coordinated driving can be achieved, collisions can be prevented, and safety warnings can be adhered to. Let's take a deeper dive into the many applications of 5G-supported V2X.

Truck Platooning 

This involves the cybernetic linking of trucks on the freeway in convoy. The proximal alignment of vehicles allows for synced acceleration, steering, and braking, allowing for greater on-road efficiency, fuel savings, and emissions reductions. The lead truck determines the route, speed, and spacing of the other trucks. 5G-binded trucking makes for safe long-distance travel. For instance, when three or more cars are journeying and one driver dozes off, the truck will automatically trail the platoon head, mitigating the risk of a sleepy driver. Also, when the lead truck makes an evasive maneuver, the other trucks behind will react simultaneously. OEMs like Scania and Mercedes have rolled out on-road models, while several US states have adopted automated truck tailing. According to Scania Group, truck platooning can reduce emissions by up to 20 percent.

Cooperative Driving

This is a connected vehicle advancement in the way cars interact with prevailing traffic conditions. A car that's fitted with V2X architecture can broadcast sensor information with other motorists to coordinate its movement. This may play out when one vehicle passes and the other one automatically decelerates to accommodate the maneuver. Active coordination by motorists has proved to be effective in curbing interruptions resulting from lane switching, abrupt braking, and unplanned maneuvers. In the real world, coordinated driving is impracticable without 5G technology.

Collision Prevention

This mechanism supports the driver by providing notifications of any impending collision. This is usually experienced as automatic steering repositioning or forced braking. To brace up for a collision, a vehicle transmits its location, speed, and direction in relation to other vehicles. With this vehicle connection technology, the motorist can avoid ramming into cyclists or pedestrians by simply discovering their smart devices. 5G inclusion amplifies this functionality by enabling an extensive array of connections across several vehicles to ascertain the precise location of each one in relation to other traffic participants.

Unmanned Driving

Auto-driven cars depend on rapid-fire data streams more than any other vehicle class. Quick response times expedite the decision-making of the driver in real-time against the backdrop of variable road conditions. Locating a pedestrian's precise position or anticipating the next red light are some scenarios where this technology demonstrates its viability. The speed of this 5G solution means that cloud data processing through AI allows the car to make unassisted but accurate decisions instantly. By interpolating data from smart cars, Machine Learning (ML) approaches can manipulate a vehicle's environment; driving cars to a halt, slowing it down, or commanding it to switch lanes. Additionally, the powerful team-up between 5G and edge computing processes datasets faster.

Interestingly, the benefits recorded in the auto segment trickle into the energy and insurance segments.

Takeaways 

5G is the digital solution that is sending the auto world into unparalleled gains by advancing how we use wireless connectivity to navigate. It supports vast amounts of connections in small areas and picks up precise locations faster than any technology before it. 5G-powered V2X architecture is highly dependable with minimal delays, delivering a range of advantages such as ease of connectivity, rapid data capture and transfer, enhanced road safety, and improved vehicle maintenance.

Vera Solovyova, Copywriter, Softeq

Vera Solovyova is a Copywriter at Softeq–a full-stack development company and an Inc. 5000 honoree. We craft quality content to assist tech startups and large enterprises in engineering, transforming and scaling smart technology systems.