Audi, Qualcomm, VDOT Announce C-V2X Vehicle Safety Deployments
Thursday, January 23, 2020 | Comments

Audi of America, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Qualcomm Technologies, announced plans for initial deployments of cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications on northern Virginia roadways. Initial deployment is expected to take place on select roadways in Virginia beginning in the third quarter.

The plans include employing advanced wireless communications to enhance vehicle safety by using the same portion of the 5.9 GHz band that the FCC proposed allocating for C-V2X. In line with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement last week to establish a First Responder Safety Pilot Program, the efforts are designed to focus on improving safety for construction workers and motorists.

Unique properties of basic C-V2X will be used to deliver work zone warnings on highways as well as signal timing information on approaches to signalized intersections on arterial roadways. In both cases, C-V2X communications can help deliver critical safety messages between vehicles and infrastructure with minimal latency, while less time-sensitive alerts are designed to be provided via C-V2X using the cellular network.

The initial Virginia deployment is designed for connected car systems designed to boost safety around school buses, warn motorists about dangerous road conditions, alleviate congestion at traffic chokepoints and curbsides, help improve the performance of automated vehicles that are nearing commercialization and even potentially let cars communicate with mobile devices to send warnings that may one day help prevent the more than 6,000 pedestrian fatalities per year.

The northern Virginia initial deployment is designed to involve two primary use cases including work zone warnings featuring a Qualcomm C-V2X chipset solution via an in-vehicle display in Audi Q8 SUVs designed to deliver a graduated warning, with the last link being a low-latency, reliable warning to drivers of the workers’ physical presence. On arterial roadways, the signal phase and timing (SpaT) from a traffic signal, will be transmitted with a Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset solution to Audi Q8 SUVs.

“VDOT has long supported research into the benefits of connected and automated vehicles, particularly those aspects that have the potential to significantly enhance safety,” said Virginia’s Director of Transportation Research and Innovation Cathy McGhee. “The inclusion of shorter-range, direct communications in the 5.9 GHz band using C-V2X is exciting, as it can allow us to evaluate this emerging communication option for essential and practical safety and mobility services, including saving the lives of maintenance and construction personnel in work zones.”

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) was contracted to develop the software and systems necessary to support the primary use cases defined for the initial deployment. Following software development, the institute will then conduct a demonstration of C-V2X technology operating in these use cases.

Audi said the C-V2X solution used in this initial deployment is based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Releases 14 and 15 specifications. Direct communications of this solution uses 20 megahertz from the 5.905 – 5.925 GHz band, the same spectrum that the FCC has proposed allocating for C-V2X.

A more advanced mode of C-V2X has an evolution path to 5G using 3GPP Release 16 specifications. V2X standards that address power savings and direct mode could eventually enhance features for public safety and critical communications as well.

Field test results issued by the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) have proven C-V2X to be an efficient and effective radio access technology, showing that it significantly increases in range and reliability compared with other radio technologies. C-V2X commercial products are now available in the form of multiple chip platforms, wireless modules, vehicular onboard units and infrastructure roadside units.

“The cars and trucks of the future will use wireless spectrum and advanced technologies to keep us safer on the road,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “C-V2X is a new and promising technology that is gaining momentum in the automotive industry as it enables communications between cars, infrastructure, cyclists, pedestrians and road workers.

“The C-V2X deployment announcement was only made possible through an experimental license. That’s because the current rules governing the 5.9 GHz band lock us into DSRC (dedicated short range communications), a technology authorized by the FCC more than 20 years ago that has never been widely deployed. The FCC recognizes the promise of C-V2X, having voted unanimously in December on a proposal to designate 20 megahertz for its deployment in the 5.9 GHz band. If this proposal is adopted, it would be a significant step forward for automotive safety, since there is currently no spectrum designated for C-V2X.”

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