Article Details

Smart Mobility and Communication to be a Game Changer for Consumers

Published Date: 4/17/2020

As per the world health organization (WHO) approximately 1.35 million people die as a result of road traffic accidents every year. More than half of these being road users include pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. With a customer in mind, the automotive market has seen significant advancements in vehicle safety over the past decade. Safety systems in vehicles have transitioned from being passive to active and now Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles. This advanced system alerts the driver and intervenes to avoid collisions whereas autonomous vehicles will navigate through city traffic conditions on their own, thus providing safer roads and greater traffic efficiency.

What role do we see for connectivity in the autonomous ecosystem?

One of the major concerns the consumer has today is how will autonomous vehicles operate. How will they communicate and navigate between user-driven vehicles and autonomous vehicles, and what will be the human interface in the autonomous vehicle ecosystem?

Cellular connectivity and data communication will be critical for a safe operation of autonomous vehicles. Systems like lidar, radar, and camera sensors assist in sensing the surroundings while global positioning systems (GPS) and 3D connected maps will help an autonomous vehicle with navigation and getting to destination safely. What’s more, connected systems will enable Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communication which includes:

  • Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V): vehicle communicate with each other to share collision warnings, real-time road conditions, blind spot warnings, and visibility enhancement 
  • Vehicle to Infrastructures (V2I): vehicles communicate with infrastructures such as traffic displays, emergence terminals, and streetlights to share traffic information in real-time
  • Vehicle to Device (V2D): vehicle communicates information with any electronic device connected to the vehicle itself
  • Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P): vehicle communicates with pedestrians and cyclist to provide safety alerts
  • Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G): vehicle communicates with the power grid to charge electric or hybrid vehicles during cost-effective, and off-peak hours

5G to be an Enabler for V2X Communication

Vehicles today are connecting to cellular networks (2G, 3G, and 4G) for a wide range of services such as telematics, connected infotainment, real-time navigation, and traffic optimization. It also provides safety services such as automatic crash notifications, traffic jams, roadworks, weather conditions, and other traffic infrastructure-related information. There are user-friendly applications, road operators, road traffic authorities and even OEMs that send warning messages to drivers. In the current scenario, the drivers interpret how they use these informational messages.  

With advances in 4G LTE and global rollout of 5G wireless technology underway, it will optimize communication for autonomous/connected vehicles. Implementation of Cellular V2X (C-V2X) technology will bring a new dimension to autonomous/connected vehicles. It will improve the vehicle’s ability to communicate wirelessly with each other, traffic signals, pedestrians, and other roadside infrastructure providing safe driving conditions. C-V2X will allow vehicles to communicate their location, speed, and direction. Further, it will also enable us to negotiate turns, merge into lanes, and warn about collision risks among other benefits. Advances in cellular technology will enable V2V, V2I, V2P, V2D and V2G communication.

Complex Environment Brings Deployment Challenges

As the integration of technology and vehicle takes place there will be challenges that the manufacturers are likely to face. The autonomous vehicle manufacturers need to standardize operating standards to streamline complex processes. The integration of different technologies to function as one platform for better communication of information is essential. Regulatory legislation will also play a critical role as many industries are coming together to build a reliable infrastructure.

Also, lack of coverage, network overload due to large data generation, jamming of signals, atmospheric interference and physical obstruction can add to cellular operator challenges.    

Consumers will need road safety data in real-time to assist them with potential dangers and situations that are not visible. Proper traffic-related communication needs to take place for speed management, remote vehicle diagnostics and air pollution monitoring among other aspects. Continued network connectivity needs to be there as a tech-savvy consumer will need continued access to infotainment such as music download, internet access, VOIP, video, and navigation.

Security of critical data for enabling key activities, which could otherwise result in the vehicle getting compromised needs addressing. Integration of assorted systems such as data from many satellites, communication technologies and a large number of on-board sensors, among others needs to communicate and be secure.

Testing a Key to Successful Implementation and Working of V2X Communication

Testing will be critical for all autonomous vehicles to be safe, perform well, and respond to real-time driving conditions at all times. The tests will evaluate if the vehicle is sending, receiving, interpreting signals correctly and is interacting effectively with other vehicles, pedestrians and infrastructure. Testing takes place at each stage of design, development, integration, and deployment to ensure that the consumer gets a vehicle that is ready to be driven.

At each stage of the manufacturing process, automotive manufacturers will have to conduct proper testing of the vehicle. The first stage is component testing as the majority of these come from the supply chain. Testing these parts for performance results in the safety of the car. The second stage involves the testing of mechanical parts of autonomous vehicles. This guarantees that the vehicle can safely drive-in all-weather conditions. Finally, testing electronic modules are done to ensures that all units installed will last for the life of the vehicle and provide accurate data.

Once these tests are completed, the next step will be operational design testing to confirm that all components, mechanical and electronic parts are working and communicating properly. Further testing is conducted for the integration of advanced 4G LTE and 5G with the autonomous vehicle to enable proper communication. Also, cyber security testing is done so that no system is compromised, and the vehicle continues to communicate and function efficiently. 

Finally, safety features are assessed for the crash test, data recording test, object detection and response test for the autonomous vehicle to be safe and reliable for the consumer to operate.   

Future of Autonomous Cars – Technology is Available and the Consumer is ready

In this decade, autonomous and connected vehicles will reshape smart mobility and open a new world of driving experience. As consumers move towards autonomous vehicles, the pressure will increase on automotive manufacturers to provide a vehicle that is safe and reliable. Automotive manufacturers will have to perform the right type of testing to make sure to monitor vehicle connectivity performance and identify coverage gaps. Automotive OEMs will choose partners with experience in wireless coverage testing as safety, performance, security, and compliance with industry regulations is key to the success of connected vehicles. As the automotive, testing, and wireless companies come together and merge technologies, it will redefine the future of driving for consumers.