V2x: when the car talks directly to the environment

the idea of car-to-X communication dates back to the 90s. Now there is a chance to implement it in series production as part of the further development of mobile communications technology, without the automotive industry or the public sector having to make massive investments in roadside hardware and software.

There was a collision on a narrow section of a busy road: a rear-end collision. But it is not only the hazard warning lights and the warning triangle that inform drivers approaching the scene of an accident. A signal from an accident vehicle directly informs the following vehicles. At the same time, more distant road users are automatically informed of the obstacle because the car has also immediately transmitted its breakdown message to the base stations of the mobile communications providers. Network operators send the information directly to the navigation software used by their customers – a great convenience service that helps many people avoid traffic jams in good time.

Device-to-device communication allows vehicles to communicate with each other as well as with a base station. Novero

The idea of vehicles exchanging information with each other and with other units is not new. For a long time, however, it was unclear on the basis of existing communication technologies and standards how such a car-2-X scenario (C2X, V2X) could be realized and how the networking of vehicles could be implemented on a broad scale.

Release 12 of LTE for V2X

Thanks to the further development of a mobile communications standard, it is now possible to implement such a scenario in the near future without the automotive industry or other stakeholders – such as car customers or the public sector – having to invest massively in its realization.

With the release 12 of the LTE standard published this summer, more and more smartphones and other devices will have the ability to exchange information directly, without a base station as an intermediary. Device-to-device communication (D2D) thus becomes a mass phenomenon.

D2D on the basis of LTE will reshuffle the cards on the subject of C2X, because C2X communication can also be mapped on the basis of D2D. Vehicles can communicate with other vehicles as well as with infrastructure, and even with other road users such as pedestrians or cyclists carrying a modern smartphone.

D2D communication with V2X

This creates a communication potential that can be used to build an IST (intelligent transport system). It consists of cooperative awareness messages (CAM), which are continuously exchanged every 100 milliseconds, and decentralized environmental notification messages (DENM), which are notifications of special events.

Device-to-device makes it possible to communicate directly with the vehicle using an uplink – even if, for example, the concrete ceiling of an underground parking garage means that no connection to a mobile radio base station is possible and a rental car is connected to the sma novero

Both service providers offering apps and other services and devices integrated directly into the vehicle can use CAM and DENM messages in the same way. This allows accidents to be avoided, road capacities to be optimally utilized, and convenience applications to be realized. The transmission of legally required traffic-relevant information, for example for emergency call systems, would also be possible on this basis.

LTE D2D instead of PWLAN for V2X

So far, the automotive industry has developed the PWLAN standard as the communication layer for ITS and emergency call scenarios, but PWLAN is not optimal as the basis for C2X communication. Additional hardware and software is required to bring PWLAN into the vehicles. But whether car customers will be willing to pay these extra costs is more than questionable. Municipalities, states and the federal government do not have the resources to build a nationwide infrastructure that works with PWLAN. Due to the consequently foreseeable high investment requirements, the first oems are already saying goodbye to PWLAN.

Device-to-device communication enables the existing LTE infrastructure to implement ITS use-cases through software updates and without new investments. The new D2D technology can be easily integrated into all types of chips – not just those that are included as a component of personal devices such as smartphones. Integration as part of the telematic control unit (TCU) in the connected car is also possible.

How D2D communication works with V2X

If a sufficient number of vehicles are part of the communication network thanks to an installed TCU or a D2D-enabled smartphone of the driver, the use case of collision warning mentioned at the beginning can be implemented well. Vehicles that are 500 m or closer receive a 200 to 800 kbyte message as a warning directly from the vehicle via a D2D uplink. At the same time, the system transmits the warning as a device-to-infrastructure (D2I) message to the nearest base station of a mobile network provider. There, it can be transmitted via the mobile radio network as an infrastructure-to-device message (I2D) to distant road users in the downlink, where it can trigger applications such as route planners.

Key data

With the release 12 of the LTE standard, published this summer, more and more smartphones and other devices will be able to exchange information directly, without a base station as an intermediary. Device-to-device communication (D2D) is becoming a mass phenomenon.

D2D based on LTE reshuffles the cards on C2X, because C2X communication can also be based on D2D. Vehicles can communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure, and even with other road users such as pedestrians or cyclists carrying a modern smartphone. There is already a concrete pre-development project for V2X via D2D.

But how did this route planner get onto the smartphone of the more distant motorist?? It can be a smartphone app developed by a mobile network operator, a navigation provider or a software company. The car owner downloaded it from an app store because, according to test reports, it provides information about traffic problems faster than the traffic radio or his navigation device. Map providers such as google and here already show information about traffic density in their route suggestions in their apps. Until now, the position data from smartphones has been the source of information. Such services can be implemented even faster and more precisely with the help of D2D and D2I/I2D messages.

The app can also be part of a vehicle’s connectivity package; it can also be displayed on a vehicle’s dashboard if the OEM provides the app itself or with the help of a partner company.

The advantage of this development is that it is not just the automotive industry that has to bring the technology to market; smartphone manufacturers and mobile network operators are doing the same. The infrastructure is being developed step by step with the rollout of a new generation of smartphones and the development of new apps. This ensures that D2D in the vehicle can already represent added value for the early-adopter – even if there are only a few D2D-enabled vehicles to begin with. Finally, with the new generation of smartphones, there will soon be many other devices in the pockets of cyclists and pedestrians that can communicate with the vehicle.

Business cases for D2D

D2D business cases can be realized right from the start. Approaches include not only safety features such as collision warning, but also, for example, car-sharing scenarios such as communication with vehicles that are in the radio shadow. This could be the case if a rental vehicle is to be handed over in an underground car park and the check-out process is carried out via a smartphone app of a car-sharing provider or a car rental company.

Convenience functions such as unlocking a vehicle via a smartphone app then also work without contact to a base station. Other remote control services, such as turning on the air conditioning or displaying the location, can also be implemented via D2D without communication via the backend – and thus faster and more conveniently. Here, oems can increase their customer loyalty by providing appropriate apps as a convenience to the customers of their models.

D2D pre-development project for V2X

The company novero relies on LTE technology, because the next LTE generations will be used for car2x worldwide. Novero is working on D2D with leading oems and on a concrete pre-development project. The company has already realized an early prototype that behaves as much as possible like a D2D-capable device at the air interface. A functionally enhanced prototype is planned for 2016, and a first near-production prototype for 2017. On this basis, novero is already in a position to develop use-cases with oems. The novero team is also working on latency issues for safety-critical applications to solve this task one step at a time.

Network of networks

On this basis, an ITS is created as a decentralized network from below. This is a network of networks that consists of different services and apps that exchange data with each other. Like the internet, it is evolving as a growing network rather than the result of centrally controlled investment projects. as part of fixed systems, D2D offers the opportunity to cover the multitude of car2x applications in the car in an economical and sustainable way.

oems have the opportunity to play a central role in this development and play a significant role in shaping it. If you are able to unlock new features in vehicles, for example, as quickly as smartphone manufacturers and network providers, you will be in a position to proactively reshape customer relationships. As a first mover, they are also able to implement new business models such as value-added services based on an ITS system. Novero is the enabler.

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