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Why V2X Testing is the Linchpin of Full Vehicle Autonomy

Updated: May 2, 2022

In the first article in this series, we stated that while full phase 5 autonomy has long been on the horizon, fueling the dream of a more sustainable and safer driving future, the reality is that the underlying technologies necessary to make this dream a reality have been victim to sluggish standards, policies, and an insufficient 5G infrastructure. We further pointed out that V2X, or vehicle-to-everything, is an exciting catalyst for moving this market to the next level. Thanks to the recent $1.2T Biden infrastructure bill, there is now a roadmap for generating the much-needed funding and resources to provide the 5G infrastructure investment necessary to speed up this movement towards full automotive autonomy.

As with any type of software, the realm of V2X development and deployment requires rigorous testing to ensure full safety and security compliance, performance, and systems integrity. In the rush to embrace these digital transformations, engineers and developers and other practitioners must recognize that implementation of V2X (and ultimately, full vehicle autonomy) will require serious testing standards. In this article, we look at some of the major characteristics and goals of V2X testing, and why this market is so critical for achieving the dream of full vehicle autonomy.

What is V2X Testing and why does it matter?

For many years, the idea of the “connected car” has been promoted in science fiction and Hollywood. Those old enough to remember “Kit” in the early 1980s Knight Rider television series will get this point. But the complexity of the modern automobile has grown exponentially over the past decade and what was once science fiction is fast becoming reality. With the implementation of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) into newer model vehicles, the concept of a truly connected car isn’t far off. But this concept also requires rigorous testing standards to ensure safety and reliability — all the way from development through production.

V2X testing has been a bit of a moving target due to the wide and heterogenous nature of the software and hardware used in development and the fact that regulations, conformance test specs, and type approval are constantly evolving.

According to Christopher Hammerschmidt, “The main purpose of testing is to ensure that the design conforms to the design specifications from component-level design to the system level, and from the antenna RF performance to the protocol or security aspects.” He also points out that V2X testing should focus on achieving three central elements: cost efficiency, flexibility, and long-term adaptability. Since field testing is cost prohibitive and the amount of test scenarios and requirements are constantly expanding, V2X test engineers will ultimately want to avoid refitting or retrofitting their systems every 2–3 years. In other words, a single and flexible solution is the ideal fit for V2X testing.

Because of the rapid and revolutionary advancement of V2X technologies, along with the broad range of use cases (vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-network, vehicle-to-pedestrian), there exists the need for a clear set of testing standards. Such standards should ensure that a product meets the full regional and global interoperability, efficiency, and security required for maximal safety and reliability of all vehicle systems.

The Main Goals of V2X Testing

Given the complex nature of the V2X market in general, and the testing requirements in particular, it’s important to ask ourselves the central question — exactly what are the main goals of V2X testing? There are six areas that are important to consider:

Conformance & Regulatory Testing: Since V2X devices must communicate with each other in the same or adjacent spectrum, manufacturers need to conform to a standard set of regulations. For example, ITS-G5 and WAVE/DRSC are both based on IEEE 802.11p, which is the updated standard to strengthen signal for vehicle environments. However, the former is specific to Europe while the latter is the standard in U.S. and AIPAC countries. Synchronization between chipsets, software, and modules created by multiple vendors will become increasingly important to ensure optimal V2X testing efficiencies.

Interoperability & Field Testing: V2X technologies require the coordination of many overlapping communications protocols and various standards and policies — all operating at high levels of efficiency. Engineers must be able to collaborate at “interoperability” events to crystallize standards and share research on new tools, best practices, and research findings to achieve the most efficient transfer of conditions from laboratory or computer simulations into real world operation.

Functionality and Performance: Agreement of standards is only the first step. A proper V2X testing environment needs to send, receive, and translate signals across a wide range of variables and must be able to navigate disruptions, signal obstacles, and interact with other onboard units (OBUs) and roadside units (RSUs). Any reliable test framework must also respond to overloaded simulations to measure any failure points in the system.

Scenario Planning: The core of any reliable V2X testing environment is to understand how the system behaves under real world conditions. This includes various test scenarios in which vehicles are: moving towards each other, moving in congestion, moving among static vehicles, and communicating with each with various levels of interference.

Production Testing: Fast, reliable, and cost-effective equipment plays an important part of any V2X test environment. This equipment provides GNSS simulation, C-V2X protocol testing, conformance testing, transmitter accuracy, and RF measurements in order to provide engineers with the most accurate data on how the vehicle would perform in real-world conditions.

Security: Due to the exponential growth in cybercrime across industries, wireless communications in vehicles open up the possibilities for cyber and physical attacks that threaten traffic safety, efficiency, data privacy, and public trust. Addressing these security risks with robust planning and development must become an integral part of any comprehensive V2X testing environment from day one.

How SAC Can Help Accelerate Your V2X Testing Strategy

To achieve the dream of full vehicle autonomy, engineers must rigorously develop a set of V2X communications that work correctly under all possible conditions. There is no room for error since lives are at stake and public trust is critical for mainstream adoption. Vehicles must be able to “talk” with each other under a wide variety of scenarios, both in and around town and at highway speeds while detecting all surrounding objects (in-line-of-sight and outside-line-of-sight). To achieve reliable, safe, precise testing scenarios, you need a team that can deliver results. That team is Strategic Alliance Consulting (SAC).

Founded in 2008, Strategic Alliance Consulting is a wireless solutions company. We leverage our decades of experience in wireless, cloud, and security to design, build, and validate end-to-end communications systems. Our team of cross-functional experts will accelerate your go-to-market, optimize your costs, and future-proof your technology. We don’t just engineer wireless solutions — we engineer business outcomes.

SAC is at the center of the latest advances in V2X development and is making the best use of field and laboratory testing to drive this industry forward. Our dream is to reach 5G enabled full phase 5 vehicle autonomy as quickly, practicably, and safely as possible. However, we recognize that achieving this goal will require collaborations, partnerships, and agreements with many innovators and engineers across industries.

Let’s speak if you are looking for a technology partner to drive your V2X initiative. We look forward to speaking with you!


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