AT&T, Ford, Nokia and Qualcomm work towards improving vehicle safety, traffic efficiency, support path

AT&T, Ford, Nokia, and Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., announced this week that are helping to accelerate the development of connected cars with the first announced Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) trials in the U.S.  

Testing is expected to take place in the San Diego Regional Proving Ground with the support of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, the City of Chula Vista, and transportation solutions (ITS) provider McCain Inc. The goal of the trials is to demonstrate the potential of C-V2X technologies, including support for improved automotive safety, automated driving, and traffic efficiency.

The trials will also be aimed at demonstrating to automakers and road operators the anticipated cost-efficient benefits associated with embedded cellular technology in vehicles and synergies between the deployment of cellular base stations and roadside infrastructure. The initial testing phase is expected to begin later this year.

For this trial, C-V2X platforms are expected to be installed in Ford vehicles using the Qualcomm® 9150 C-V2X solution to facilitate direct communications, and are complemented by AT&T’s 4G LTE network communications and ITS platform that takes advantage of wireless base stations and multi-access edge computing technology from Nokia. For the new communication technologies being deployed, McCain will help facilitate the effective integration with existing and emerging traffic signal control infrastructure.

Testing will support direct C-V2X communications operating in the 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum to explore the safety enhancements of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) use cases, including do not pass warning, intersection movement assist, and left turn assist, to name a few. The trials will also support advanced vehicle communication capabilities for improved traffic efficiencies, such as real-time mapping updates and event notifications relayed using AT&T’s cellular network and Nokia Cloud Infrastructure.

Defined by third generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in 2017 as an extension of global cellular standards, C-V2X is an important factor in next-generation wireless technology for safety conscious and automated driving solutions.

As wireless technology becomes prevalent, vehicles are using the cellular network for various tasks, ranging from emergency calls and over-the-air (OTA) updates, to diagnostics and real-time traffic updates. Using direct communication mode, C-V2X is designed to help expand the role of wireless technology for road safety applications by facilitating the ability of vehicles to directly communicate with other vehicles, pedestrian devices, and roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signs and construction zones, using the 5.9 GHz band without the involvement of a cellular network, or cellular network subscription.

Complementary to other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) sensors, such as cameras, radar, and LIDAR, C-V2X technology is designed to support 360-degree non-line-of-sight (NLOS) awareness, and is designed to extend a vehicle’s ability to see, hear, and understand the environment down the road, at blind intersections, or in bad weather conditions.

With decades-long experience in automated vehicle testing, advanced features in regional transportation networks, and a global reputation as a high-tech hub for research and wireless innovation, the San Diego region was designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of ten automated vehicle proving grounds in the U.S. earlier this year.

“Leveraging the evolution of embedded cellular technologies for V2X communications holds great potential to advance safety benefits to all road users,” said Cameron Coursey, vice president, AT&T Internet of Things Solutions. “Working with industry leaders, such as Ford, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies, and state and local government agencies, we will together lead the way to safer, more secure, cost-effective, and efficient next-generation solutions.”

“Caltrans has been fully engaged in autonomous and connected vehicle research and testing in recent years,” said Malcolm Dougherty, director, Caltrans. “We are proud to join with SANDAG, the City of Chula Vista, public and private sector partners to further the pursuit of innovative technologies on our roadways to improve safety and mobility.”

“The knowledge and partnerships we gain from being a designated proving ground will help us advance innovation, enhance mobility, and improve our transportation systems,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.

“The advancement of cellular technology for C-V2X applications is very encouraging,” said Don Butler, executive director, connected vehicle and services, Ford Motor Company. “This technology promises to meet, and in some cases, exceed the performance requirements of vehicle communication being proposed by relevant government agencies while leveraging existing in-vehicle connectivity frameworks. C-V2X provides a reassuring path to technology advancements necessary to support emerging developments in autonomy, automated driving, and mobility. We are keen to investigate all aspects of this opportunity and support cross industry efforts that make that possible.”

“LTE and 5G technologies have the potential to dramatically transform our lives, and none more so than in transportation,” said Thorsten Robrecht, head of vertical network slices, Nokia. “Nokia has a keen interest in creating safe, efficient, and dynamic operating environments for autonomous vehicles, and we have gained much experience from our European projects over the last few years. As such, we are extremely excited to be involved in this project with AT&T, Ford, and Qualcomm Technologies, taking meaningful steps to evaluate what this technology will be able to deliver.”

“Qualcomm Technologies is working towards solutions designed for tomorrow’s safer and autonomous vehicles, not only by contributing and evolving C-V2X technology, but also by designing technological breakthroughs in other key areas such as 4G and 5G, precise positioning, machine learning, and computer vision,” said Nakul Duggal, vice president, product management, automotive, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are pleased to work with industry and government leaders, in our hometown, testing and refining the technologies for the more connected, automated vehicle of tomorrow and advanced cellular infrastructure which includes small cells and roadside units.”

“The San Diego Regional Proving Ground’s partnership between SANDAG, Caltrans, and the City of Chula Vista positions us as leaders in the development and deployment of new technology, allowing our region to realize benefits in mobility, safety, and economic development. The collaboration this partnership demonstrates between government agencies and the private sector significantly reduces deployment costs while accelerating the proliferation of the infrastructure necessary for the next generation of mobility technology,” said SANDAG Chair and County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “Government will benefit from these new C-V2X roadside units integrated with cellular infrastructure, and San Diego is perfectly situated to provide a platform for new business models that can lead to safer roadways and more efficient operations.”

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