MADISON, Wis.—Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technologies — collectively known as V2X — are leaving the test track and making their way onto public streets.
Sunnyvale, Calif. is the latest city serving as a real-world V2X testbed, for Nissan, Savari and UC Berkeley.
By gaining the support of the city of Sunnyvale, Nissan, which has a Research Center in Sunnyvale, has effectively shifted its V2X test program into the real world. The pilot project, spanning 4.63 square miles in Sunnyvale, includes three public intersections equipped with Savari’s V2X-enabled road-side units.
In Sunnyvale, Savari and Nissan have deployed units at traffic lights to communicate with on-board units in cars. Data on traffic conditions at intersections is collected in real time, for broadcast to cars supporting V2X communication.
Not everyone in the automotive industry is conceding V2X as a fait accompli, however.
It’s been taking more than a decade for V2X to get commercially deployed. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has yet to mandate it, fostering a measure of skepticism in the automotive industry.
Roger Lanctot, associate director, global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, for example, believes that cellular-based V2X deployment over LTE or 5G stand will have a better chance of success as a market-driven solution in the existing infrastructure. “[There is] no need to create an entirely new network—like what’s required for V2X using Dedicated Short Distance Communications (DSRC),” he pointed out.
DSRC uses 75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set aside in 1999 for intelligent transportation systems (ITS).
Others believe that, although the DoT missed the 2015 deadline for a DSRC mandate, the government is moving ahead with it.
In an EE Times Radio show on Monday, Craig Aine, ADAS business development director at NXP Semiconductors predicted that the DOT will mandate DSRC by the second quarter this year. Scott McCormick , president of Connected Vehicle Trade Association also believes the mandate will come this year — but later — most likely in the fourth quarter.
The number of tech companies joining the DSRC-based V2X ecosystem are on the rise. They believe V2X will eventually become a necessary companion tech element for autonomous cars.
Savari, an automotive tech startup, is a good example. The company is developing not just hardware (road-side units and on-board systems equipped with DSRC) but also its own software IPs and safety applications, which it says are available for licensing.
Paul Sakamoto, chief operating office at Savari, in an interview with EE Times, described V2X as “one of the few technologies that offer predictive safety.”
V2X-enabled vehicles and traffic lights will both know “kilometers ahead of time” what’s coming down the pike, Sakamoto said. In turn, this will ensure intersection safety, ease traffic congestion and enhance fuel economy.
With the DSRC wireless technology enabling reliable communication between moving vehicles and fixed wireless infrastructure, cars will be able to alert drivers of upcoming congestion, construction, road conditions, or emergency vehicles. Cars could respond to a sudden slowdown by braking automatically.
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