Vodafone has started trialling vehicle-to-vehicle communications (LTE-V2X) in the UK and is planning further trials in Germany LTE-V2X enables cars to chat with each other to improve road safety and efficiency
In recent years cars have been getting smarter and safer, partly due to the role of embedded cellular communications. The introduction of 5G promises to accelerate this trend.
Many vehicles already roll off the production line supporting eCall, which automatically notifies emergency services in the event of a crash, providing information such as vehicle type and location.
But wouldn’t it be better if there were fewer crashes, reducing the 25,000 annual fatalities on European roads?
While some of the features in new cars such as automatic braking, lane-tracking and blind spot warning already help to reduce crashes, they depend on sensors within the vehicle which have a limited range.
Vodafone is now testing new technology to enable vehicles to talk to each other and to roadside infrastructure over greater distances .
This is the aspiration associated with an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that promises to bring about a transformational change to driving, vehicle safety and traffic congestion management. With this system, vehicles will be able to become much more aware of both their immediate and surrounding environment. For example, a car which is part of the ITS will be able to tell other cars of its intention to change lane or to signal an emergency stop. The vehicle could also be told the optimal speed to drive in order to avoid traffic congestion.
One of the key communication paths to be used in the ITS is vehicle to vehicle communications. This technology will be based on extensions to the widely used 4G standard commercially deployed around the world. By building these capabilities on the worldwide 4G standard we can ensure safe, reliable communications whilst making the most efficient use of radio spectrum and support a smooth transition to 5G.
We are currently driving the development of this new technology, known as LTE-V2X which means connecting vehicles (V) to everything (X). Vodafone, and our industry partners are developing LTE-V2X through the standards organisation 3GPP.
We have already completed an initial validation of LTE-V2X on a private test track in the UK and are actively developing plans to trial it in Germany. Furthermore, as with all our products and services, making sure customer data is secure and their privacy is protected is central to the design, development and delivery of LTE-V2X.
Achieving communication between vehicles and infrastructure is an important step that will lead to full automation of cars after 2020. We are excited to be trialing the technology that will bring new 5G capabilities to vehicles enabling safer and smarter driving for all.