Qualcomm hits the road in CV2X trial with Ericsson, Orange, PSA in France

Qualcomm has become the newest member of the “Towards 5G” initiative, which includes Ericsson, French operator Orange and French car maker PSA Group, all working toward advancing Cellular V2X (CV2X) capabilities on the road to 5G.

Ericsson, Orange and PSA announced plans to conduct a 5G technology pilot for automotive applications in January with the goal of leveraging the 4G-to-5G technology evolution to address connected vehicle requirements such as intelligent transport system (ITS) to improve road safety, new automotive and in-car services.

The partnership is technically focused on Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) architecture and real-time performances for the deployment of ITS and connected services in vehicles. Initial tests used end-to-end architecture system with LTE technology and the companies plan to move toward LTE-V and 5G technology.

The 5G initiative’s initial phase of testing in France included two use cases: Something called “see through” between two connected vehicles on a road, and “emergency vehicle approaching,” aimed at notifying drivers when an emergency vehicle is nearby in real time.

The companies reported that advanced network features implemented in a new radio access network (RAN) configured with edge-computing features allowed improved end-to-end transmission, with an average delay of 17 milliseconds for vehicle-to-network-to-vehicle (V2N2V) communications. That compares to the 30-60 millisecond results measured in today’s LTE networks and at a vehicle speed of 100 km/h. The results were obtained on the 2.6 GHz frequency band, delivering a 100 Mbit/s performance.

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CV2X technology, as defined by the 3GPP Release 14 specifications, is expected to support safety and other use cases. Subsequent releases of the 3GPP specs, including 5G New Radio (NR), are expected to evolve both network and direct communications to enable advanced use cases that support autonomous driving.

It’s all about working with partners to advance the technology, according to Derek Brown, director of business development at Qualcomm Technologies.

“There are clearly multiple stakeholders as we develop CV2X,” he said, including technology providers, carriers, car OEMs and infrastructure vendors, and all of them are working together to conduct trials that show CV2X use cases for things like platooning. In a self-driving environment, vehicles communicate with each other to create closely spaced multiple vehicle chains on a highway; high-density platooning reduces the current distance between vehicles down to one meter, resulting in better traffic efficiency, fuel savings and safer roads.

The trial in France is based on 3GPP’s Release 14; the first trial to be based on Release 14 was announced at CES 2017 and involves Qualcomm, Ericsson, Audi, SWARCO Traffic Systems and the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany.    

While these trials indicate there’s a sufficient appetite for trials in Europe, one could expect to see similar trials in the U.S. and Asia as well, said Maged Zaki, director of technical marketing at Qualcomm Technologies. In the future, Release 15 and Release 16 will offer more advanced use cases, he said.

The next steps of "Towards 5G" will focus on:

  • Implementing a dedicated network slice to prioritize ITS vehicular traffic and show improved isolation when experiencing other mobile broadband traffic in the vehicle
  • Using direct communication features of CV2X to test vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) capabilities, while assessing the enhanced performance brought by CV2X Release 14 with regards to direct communication range, latency and reliability
  • Developing new use cases to assess how CV2X with 5G NR features will be designed to support advanced applications, including traffic flow optimization, improved safety and automated driving.