From its inception, the V2X technology faced a chicken-and-egg problem: Only if enough vehicles would be able to exchange their datagrams about road conditions, hazards, and traffic priorities. And to enable them to exchange these data, interconnectivity and compatibility of the related frequency spectrums and protocols would be a mandatory requirement. Over the past years, the industry was divided into two camps: The advocates of direct-communication approaches such as DSRC and IEEE 802.11p at one side and a cellular approach on the other one. Both sides had – and have – good arguments: For hazard warnings, it is essential that the messages are transmitted and received with as little delay as possible. Therefore, the direct exchange between the parties involved would be advantageous and certainly be associated with less delay time than the cellular approach where the messages are relayed to each other across a complex chain of base stations and background servers. This however would be more than outweighed by the fact that this inherent connection to the cloud would open up the perspective for a much richer world of applications, the cellular camp argued.
Now Qualcomm throws a chipset and a reference design into the battle that probably have the potential to end the discussion. The natural ally of Qualcom as an advocate of the cellular approach is the 5G mobile radio technology since it allows for very short return times. The 3GPP partnership for the development of cellular technologies (of which Qualcomm is a member) in the meantime has developed its release 14 for direct communications which seems to provide the answer to many questions of the direct-communication camp. This approach has a name: C-V2X, whereas the C stands for “cellular”.
The new 9150 C-V2X chipset includes an application processor running the V2X software stack as well as a hardware-based security module assumes the tasks of authentication and encryption. In addition, the design supports GNSS functionality.
The two C-V2X transmission modes for direct and network communication have been designed as key components for driving safety and autonomous driving solutions. Together with sensors from other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as cameras, radar and lidar, they provide information about the vehicle’s environment. C-V2X direct communication helps to improve situation analysis by identifying and exchanging information in the low-latency, globally harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS band for vehicle (V2V), vehicle-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communication without the need for a subscriber identity module (SIM), mobile phone account or network support.
Network communication complements direct data communication and uses the 4G and new 5G wireless networks for vehicle-network communication (V2N) to support telematics, infotainment and a growing number of modern security applications via licensed operator networks.
The C-V2X standards include the global 3GPP specifications as well as those defined by the automotive industry, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute ITS (ETSI-ITS). These take advantage of the investments made by the ITS community to further develop the upper echelons and thus support new and enhanced functions.
With the expansion of the 9150 C-V2X chipset, Qualcomm underlines its long-standing commitment to safety and networked automotive traffic. The automotive industry can now leverage improved V2X capabilities to extend communications, improve reliability and optimize NLOS performance – helping to improve driving safety and autonomous driving. Qualcomm Technologies has launched numerous developments from 3GPP to 5G New Radio (NR) and continues to invest in C-V2X, as well as in the provision of new and complementary 5G-NR capabilities for C-V2X.