How 5G Will Accelerate V2X and Full Vehicle Autonomy
Updated: May 1
In the not-too-distant future, the dream of the fully autonomous vehicle will become a reality. You can bet on it! The prospect of scanning your virtual reality (VR) highlights from last night’s game via Apple Glasses while sipping coffee in your self-driving car will no longer belong to the realm of science fiction. The technologies to make this dream come true are vastly complex and require years of development. Policies and regulations also take years to change, and often lag far behind the technology. Another one of the key sticking points behind faster adoption of vehicle autonomy has been supporting infrastructure.
But there are many signs on the horizon that things are about to change. Let’s take a pulse check to see where we are on this journey and what roadblocks and challenges stand in the way of full vehicle autonomy. In this article, we explore the fast-growing market known as V2X, what it means for achieving phase 5 vehicle autonomy, and how 5G will catalyze this movement faster than many think.
The Challenges of Mainstream 5G and AV Technology Adoption
While most everyone appreciates the benefits of the latest and greatest technologies (such as self-driving cars), the often-overlooked reality is that bringing these capabilities mainstream often takes enormous amounts of time, money, and patience. The real reasons behind the relatively slow pace of 5G and autonomous vehicle adoption also has much to do with data privacy, infrastructure, and standards. For example, each autonomous vehicle requires 40 terabytes of data an hour from cameras, radar, and other sensors; guarding all of that data is critical to avoid cyberattacks.
What’s more, many regions of the country have a patchwork of differing rules and regulations that make systemization of the technology difficult. The 5G infrastructure required to adopt full vehicle autonomy has been lagging as well due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the U.S. government’s decision to ban equipment made by Chinese company Huawei.
The passage of the $1.2 Trillion Biden infrastructure bill in November 2021, which allocates nearly $65 billion in federal funding towards expanding broadband access nationwide, will fortunately speed up adoption of 5G connectivity. However, there are still many hurdles to overcome on the road to full vehicle autonomy.
What is V2X and Why it Matters
One of the biggest pushes for driverless cars has been increased safety. Algorithms are inherently better decision makers over the long run than humans and don’t get distracted or take breaks. Fortunately, in recent years Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have emerged, which provide a range of partial automation features — adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems, blind spot detection, connecting smartphones for hands-free dialing, and automatic braking to name just a few.
The emergence of V2X in recent years is another exciting example of the possibilities and push towards full vehicle autonomy. V2X translates into vehicle-to-everything and includes a number of identifying acronyms that describe specific categories of the technology. Some examples of V2X include:
V2D = Vehicle-to-Device to communicate with smart devices
V2G = Vehicle-to-Grid to communicate with the power grid
V2M = Vehicle-to-Motorcycle to communicate with motorcycles
V2I = Vehicle-to-Infrastructure to communicate with roadside units such as traffic lights
V2N = Vehicle-to-Network to communicate with mobile networks
V2P = Vehicle-to-Pedestrian to proactively scan for people and bicycles
V2V = Vehicle-to-Vehicle to communicate with other vehicles
With V2X capabilities, vehicles will not only be able to communicate with other vehicles but with pedestrians, roadside equipment, and the internet. By monitoring intersections and crosswalks and construction zones, vehicles will exchange real-time data about potential collisions, delays, and emergencies — all designed to keep drivers safer and save lives.
V2X is a big deal and will continue to experience exponential growth over the next five years. The global market is forecast to grow from $1.0 billion in 2021 to $6.5 billion by 2026, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45% for this five year period.
V2X Use Cases
The technological and infrastructure requirements necessary to support V2X are immense. Powering real-time applications in this spectrum requires ultra-reliable and extreme connectivity performance with latency of less than one millisecond. Support for augmented reality will also require mobile broadband strengths of more than one gigabyte per second. Some of the most notable V2X use cases fall into the following categories:
Platooning: The formation of a platoon or convoy of vehicles that travel together in much closer proximity than can be safely achieved with human drivers. This leads to better use of road space, more fuel efficiency, and improved safety.
Co-operative Driving: Vehicles can communicate together to avoid the disruptions caused by lane changes and sudden breaking while exchanging real-time information with traffic systems.
Traffic Warning: Roadside infrastructure can communicate with vehicles to warn them of upcoming traffic advisories and construction in order to enable smooth braking.
Avoiding Collisions: Vehicles can broadcast identity, speed, position, and more so that onboard computers can aggregate data to build real-time maps and collision awareness.
Hazards Warning: Vehicles will be able to scan past their usual electronic horizon to detect hazards past blind corners, fog, heavy vehicles, or changes in landscape.
Autonomous Driving: V2X will further enable reliable and secure self-driving features.
Driving Assistance: Vehicles will utilize augmented reality heads-up displays (AR HUD) navigation, infotainment, and more.
How SAC Can Help Advance Your V2X Strategy
Founded in 2008, Strategic Alliance Consulting is a 5G technology company that enables organizations to bridge the gap between networking, security, and the cloud on the road to digital transformation. We are a team of cross-functional experts who specialize in addressing complex business challenges at this critical juncture of overlapping technologies.
SAC is positioned to deliver comprehensive solutions for today’s most pressing V2X use cases. Here are just some of the many ways that we differentiate ourselves in the V2X market and are prepared to integrate and support the key technologies behind it:
Integration with GNSS: SAC is aligned with the latest GNSS, or Global Navigation Satellite System, capabilities that will power the high connectivity, low latency cellular communications for V2X technologies. We align with all of the major orbital classes, including GPS, BeiDou, Galileo, etc. to create functional, accurate, and secure satellite positioning and timing networks.
Integration with CAN Bus: The CAN bus (controller area network) is an in-vehicle network, which facilitates communication between electronic control units (ECUs), sensors, and actuators in modern vehicle systems without a host computer. SAC provides full capabilities to integrate with vehicle networks in order to manage the high data transfer and payload requirements of V2X technologies.
Integration with latest communication standards & protocols: SAC offers capabilities and up-to-date insights for implementing the latest communications standards that pertain to Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE). Our expertise includes 802.11p, C-V2X, and IP-based communications (TCP/UDP/IPv6).
Integration with crypto accelerators and HSM: As vehicle autonomy and V2X grows in complexity, there is a corresponding need for data integrity and authentication to protect systems against the increasing risk of cybercrime. A very important aspect of this embedded security is a hardware security module (HSM), which is a purpose-built device providing key management and cryptographic (encryption/decryption) processing. SAC is proficiently aligned to address the complex security requirements for the next generation of autonomous vehicles to ensure full protection and integrity of all real-time data and communication transfers.
While consumers have patiently waited for years for the promises of full autonomous driving, the market is gaining traction and momentum. The secret to driving this vastly complex infrastructure is enormous amounts of real-time data. The recent passage of the Biden infrastructure bill in November 2021 represents another major hurdle cleared for investments in the 5G delivery system for ultra-fast data transfers and the low latency required to power the next generation of autonomous vehicles.
It’s only a matter of time before 5G technologies do finally become mainstream. Enhanced user-experience, safety, reliability, and lower insurance rates will then likely become the major catalyst for achieving full vehicle autonomy — turning sedans into “living rooms” on wheels.
If you’re a VP or Director at an automotive manufacturer and are looking for a partner specialist in V2X integration and strategy, then SAC can help. If our toolset of experience sounds like a good match for your organization, please contact us to discuss how we can help solve your V2X networking and security challenges. We look forward to speaking with you!