Networked vehicles offer drivers access to modern infotainment content. In addition, they provide the basis for real-time traffic reports, information on danger spots, and future driver assistance functions by communicating directly with other vehicles or the infrastructure. In this way, they ensure greater driving safety and efficiency. Continental’s Hybrid V2X solution integrates not only 4G and 5G network access technologies, but also Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) and Cellular V2X technology for direct Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication. This enables vehicle manufacturers to meet the challenges of global deployment of V2X.
In contrast to communication via the mobile network, the technical path to setting up direct V2X communication differs from country to country. Some regions prefer the already available DSRC technology, while others tend towards the new Cellular V2X standard, which is still under development. Continental’s new hybrid V2X solution brings both communication standards on one hardware and software platform. This not only lowers costs, but also reduces the complexity of the worldwide application of V2X communication.
Continental, in its own words, has already been awarded the contract for its platform by a major automotive OEM in China. As usual, the company did not name the customer. “The award of a first 5G project based on our Hybrid V2X platform is great news not only for us, but for the industry as a whole. The fact that 5G appears so early on the development roadmap clearly shows that the automotive industry has its finger on the pulse of digitization,” says Johann Hiebl, head of the Body & Security and Infotainment & Connectivity business units at Continental.
The combination of V2X functionality with mobile communications creates a platform for the full scope of networking. In the conception phase of the hybrid communication platform, the Continental developers integrated all V2X requirements for cyber security, positioning and application frames with the respective 4G/5G counterparts in one device. Until now, the functionalities of short-range and long-range communication were implemented in two different systems, each with permanently assigned electronic control units (ECUs). From Continental’s point of view, a closer networking of both communication types will bring advantages for safety.
A practical example shows the benefits for driving safety of combining short and long distance communication in a single system. When vehicles approach a construction site, this situation is communicated via short-range V2X communication within a range of about half a kilometre. This means that the driver is already prepared for the situation when his vehicle reaches the construction site or the end of a traffic jam. A seamlessly connected long-distance communication could also transmit this warning with a longer lead time. This would give drivers more options, as they would have more time to avoid traffic jams or change to the recommended lane, for example.
An automated vehicle also has to process such information earlier. Narrow lanes and altered or damaged road markings could mean, for example, that the driver has to take over the driver’s task in an automated vehicle again. In this case, the handover process would start early enough to avoid stressful situations.
Continental’s hybrid V2X solution is expected to go into series production worldwide in the early 2020s, the company said.