Qualcomm and mobility safety platform Spoke are working together to bring Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) tech to bicyclists and other “light” road users, like scooters – to receive and send information and alerts with connected vehicles and infrastructure on the road.
Expected in 2022, Spoke’s portfolio using Qualcomm C-V2X tech could give cyclists and drivers more awareness about each other, helping to increase safety.
The hardware and software suite from Spoke leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2150 and 9150 C-V2X platforms, with direct communication via the 5.9 GHz band. They’re the same chipsets being deployed by some automakers. In November, 30-megahertz of 5.9 GHz band was allocated by the FCC in the U.S. for road safety applications specifically using C-V2X technologies (the remaining portion was allocated for Wi-Fi, a decision that’s come under fire from some auto groups that are challenging the regulator in court).
Dubbed “vulnerable road users” (VRUs), the Spoke platform is adapted for cyclists, scooterists and others to use the same kind of tech that connected cars employ. The aim is to give riders information about cars, infrastructure and other potential hazards around them, and vice versa.
“An important application is that it also alerts vehicles about bikes that they cannot ‘see.’ This will now allow cars to see bikes and their intentions (turning left, turning right, stopping, wavering in bike lane, etc),” said Praveen Singh, director of Business Development at Qualcomm Technologies, via email.
According to Singh, there will be a few different types of products available. One is integrated directly into bicycles, which he said the companies are currently working on with multiple bicycle OEMs that will be announced later. Another product would be sold separately and could be fixed on any mobile device or put in a rider’s pocket when they hop on a bike or scooter.
A separate screen display device would be placed on handlebars and show a rear-facing camera and safety alerts to the rider, he noted.
In addition to the 5.9 GHz band, there will be another cellular connection “to backhaul data and provide other non-safety information to riders,” Singh said.
Qualcomm noted C-V2X can offer direct communications between VRUs, vehicles and roadside infrastructure using 5.9 GHz spectrum, without the need for a cellular network.
Spoke is launching a portfolio with bicycle, scooter and motorcycle OEM partners in 2022.
“This is game-changing connectivity for both safety and for the mobility experience overall,” said Jarrett Wendt, Spoke CEO, in a statement. “For the first time, Spoke will provide dedicated hardware and software, what we refer to as vulnerable road user-to-everything (VRU2X), to unlock V2X communication to the most vulnerable users. VRU2X unlocks location accuracy through direct digital communication that connects all users anonymously to each other and to the infrastructure.”
Qualcomm, a leading chipmaker for mobile devices, has been a proponent working on C-V2X technologies for several years. The company’s been focused on diversifying beyond phones for 5G, with automotive one key focus.
During its fiscal third-quarter earnings call last month, President and CEO Cristiano Amon said Qualcomm was on pace to deliver $10 billion of annual revenues across RF front-end, IoT and automotive, with its annualized automotive revenue run rate over $1 billion as of fiscal Q3.