Brian Watson, ATSSA's Director of New Programs
If you're confused about the future of connected and automated vehicles (CV/AV), you are not alone in your concern. The 2016 ITS America conference included a session titled, Autonomous and Connected Vehicles; Preparing for the Future, which showcased just how varied the communication techniques are for V2X technologies. For those who are familiar with intelligent transportation systems (ITS), you know that there are many potential ways for vehicles to communicate with roadside safety equipment. Dedicated short range communication (DSRC) provides quick-response one-way or two-way communication with dedicated bandwidth by the Federal Communication Commission for the exchange of safety messages. While DSRC seems to be an early frontrunner, other technology developers are using more traditional long term evolution cellular networks (4/5G), like those used for cell phone data transmission to develop tools that can also be available for in-vehicle communication. These rapidly developing processes and applications muddy the waters and make things more difficult for ATSSA members attempting to develop methods or tools to interface with these emerging technologies.
This session’s speakers represented the various communication methods for V2X technology and included representatives from Toyota, Inmarsat, and Qualcomm. Each of these representatives believe there is a future for their respective technologies – satellite communications, DSRC, and 5G. Luckily, all of the individuals on this panel agreed on DSRC leading out of the gate, but each speaker also believes there is room for more communications tools.
This communication method is becoming more prominent and as a result, more cost effective. Satellite communications are efficient, secure, common content to multiple users and offer unlimited scalability. This method would be an overlay and extension to terrestrial networks and would provide enhanced navigation, OTA updates, telematics and security.
This communication medium offers higher bandwidth, reliability, high availability, and low latency (1 ms). The technology would leverage existing LTE networks, and there is no need to rebuild the system. These systems have a higher performance which would assist in platooning, where V2V communication and forward sensors to help maintain constant clearance vehicle following within a short gap. 5G will also allow for fully autonomous driving, V2X augmented reality, and extreme mobile broadband. 5G is still unavailable, but will hit the market soon.
DSRC is the current mode that many early adapters are using for V2X communications. This technology is considered the “low hanging fruit,” which means they are easy to install, and the technology is readily available. These DSRC boxes offer low latency, but they only have short-range communication which means they will have to be placed very strategically for maximum coverage.
This author envisions a hybrid approach in the future, with all modes of communication being utilized in some form. The problem for ATSSA members is ensuring your products can integrate with these communications methods when there is no true standard. For more information on connected and automated technologies please visit - www.its.dot.gov/