Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 5G platform could well play a key role in anchoring 5G wireless technology in vehicles. The reference design provides a whole range of functions for wireless vehicle communication. This allows the entire canon of V2X communication applications to be managed, from automated data exchange with traffic lights to optimize the flow of traffic to the feeding of warning messages from the cloud to the direct exchange of time-critical data between vehicles. Examples include suddenly occurring slippery roads or warnings of the end of a traffic jam on motorways. These functions are supported by C-V2X technology, one of the two radio technologies competing for V2X functionality. The reference design presented supports the C-V2X functions at the semiconductor and protocol level and could contribute to the decisive victory of C-V2X over the older, but less flexible IEEE 802.11p technology in the discussion about the right radio technology for this application category.
In addition to the C-V2X applications, the reference design offers numerous other functions that are beneficial for further driving automation as well as safety and comfort functions. These include high-precision lane-level navigation via GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, the Chinese satellite navigation system BDS or the Japanese QZSS. Cloud connections with the entire bandwidth of 5G networks at very low latency times enable applications such as teleoperator control or platooning. According to Qualcomm, series production of vehicles with this technology can start in 2021.
Alongside to the 5G platform, the US semiconductor manufacturer presented the QCA6696 chip for the new WiFi 6 WLAN generation, which has been optimized for vehicle operation. In addition to infotainment tasks in the car, the chip will primarily support car-to-cloud applications such as automated software updates via cloud or automatic check-in in the workshop. With features such as Multiple User MIMO and OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access), the device enables better use of frequency spectra and offers users a bandwidth of up to 1.8 Gbps. Support for Qualcomm’s proprietary aptX audio technology is designed to improve the sound quality of streaming audio. In addition, the QCA6696 enables UHD video display on multiple displays, screen mirroring and wireless connection of rear-view cameras. “With the transition to 5G, WiFi 6 will also become an integral part of vehicle connectivity,” said Nakul Duggal, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm Technologies.