Should consumers care about car connectivity?

Vehicle to everything – V2X – or car connectivity is the only solution which provides non line-of-sight information for a vehicle. It’s a crucial augmentation of sensor technologies, communicating cars can receive information from other vehicles or from the infrastructure. Why is it important? Carmakers will have to take responsibility for their self driving systems, and V2X can reduce liabilities in an inexpensive way. 

The matter of prices also came up in the conversation, but it’s not really important to the end user. It’s enough to know that V2X is one of the cheapest sensor technologies. We don’t know the cost of the airbags and the seat belts, yet we’d never buy a car without them, would we? As for the OEMs’ costs, we have good news, they can monetize connectivity in many ways, for example V2X-based tolling and payment for EV charging.

Since V2X systems are serving safety, building it into mass produced vehicles has implications for manufacturing and software development. 

Functional safety compliance is necessary. 

OEMs and Tier 1s have to prepare now for launching V2X systems in the coming years.

Do you want to hear about this more? You can watch the video on the Reuters Events website. We had limited time in the Q&A session, therefore we have written down some of the audience’s questions to answer here.

Will the vehicles exchange information? If so, what kind of information? Is there a boundary between what information should be exchanged and finally will there be a standard communication between each manufacturer?

Yes, vehicles will share information, and they will do it with standardized methods. That is vehicle-to-everything is all about. Vehicles don’t share private information such as a licence plate number or anything else about the owner. Some V2X messages share a vehicle’s physical properties, for example the speed, the size and the direction, while other messages share a location and a certain warning, for example that the vehicle has stopped on the hard shoulder. The information is standardized, so every vehicle talks in the same language.

Who will win the battle OEM or ByoD [the carmakers or the users’ personal devices]? There was A similar question:  Do you believe in cooperative solutions through smart devices such as smartphones or smart watches to save our child?

It’s a broad question, and we don’t know if the kids in the backseat prefer their own personal devices or the car’s built-in entertainment system. When we remain at road safety, the OEM is a clear winner. Phones have depleting batteries, there are huge variations in hardware performance, and the owner of the phone can literally install anything, in some cases even malwares. It’s really hard to trust a person’s life on such an unpredictable device. When OEMs build safety solutions in a car, strict requirements and exact specifications must be met. V2X is specifically a safety feature, its functionality is not affected by any entertainment features running in the background.

How do you see the coexistence of network-based services (LTE / 5G) and C-V2X evolving over time?

Mobile network and direct communication (C-V2X or ITS-G5) services complement each other. 5G and LTE has proven to be appropriate for news and weather services over a large area. Even mobile phones do a great job when we talk about general, not too urgent news about traffic jams and approaching storms. To share real-time information about cars that have just crashed, when we need the exact location of a hazard to avoid it, we must rely on a safety first solution: the direct vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure V2X messages.

As the amount of data to/from the car is rapidly growing, who will pay for the bandwidth?

V2X direct messages are free, because these are transmitted on the special 5.9 GHz frequency band, reserved for road safety applications. LTE or 5G connections are paid services. In some cases the car owner can choose the operator and the mobile data package, but sometimes the mobile connection is part of a larger option package that contains many other things, for example navigation map updates, wifi hotspot for passengers, online music and video services.

We’re not waiting until April Fools for misbehavior detection

Misbehavior detection is when a message is sent between vehicles and then flagged as false. Misbehavior can endanger lives, therefore both malicious and unintentionally wrong V2X messages must be filtered out on all 365 days of the year.

There’s an app for that!

Well, not on your phone, I’m not referring to the decade old commercial. It’s an app in our vehicle-to-everything stack, and it’s called misbehavior detection.

An early example of misbehavior detection is basically all about checking the values in consecutive Cooperative Awareness Messages (CAM) to expose a liar. For a starter you have to know that CAM messages contain a lot of information about a vehicle: position, heading, speed, acceleration and the vehicle’s type. The message says a car is reversing towards us at 200 km/h? Obviously nonsense. Traveling with a normal 50 km/h, but the GPS coordinates are always the same? Hardly believable. How about a 23 meters long motorcycle? Not even Batman’s bike in the movie reached that size. 

So these were the easier cases.

At the last Car2Car week event Andras Varadi, head of Commsignia research and Daniel Magyar research intern gave a presentation about much more complex issues involving multiple sensors and V2X units.

Infrastructure as a vigilante

In the first case the infrastructure helps drivers assess the situation. The information sharing is done with Cooperative Perception Message (CPM) and, as the name implies, these messages contain data about objects detected by various sensors and cameras. In our case the V2X roadside unit (RSU) at the intersection is connected to a camera. We simulate a case when its input is not verified and as a consequence it is possible that it sends a corrupted CPM message to vehicle B. The message says that vehicle A occupies the intersection.

But vehicle B’s own on-board sensors detect free space at the phantom car’s alleged location. Our misbehavior detection algorithm doesn’t just make a decision based on the vehicle’s own sensor, but also reports the RSU to the Misbehavior Authority. 

Denouncing a V2X device is an integral part of V2X safety, it prevents additional future false messages from being accepted by anyone in the traffic. However, since this process can take time, Commsinia software also helps maintain safety right away. What’s more, vehicle B shares its own view of the situation – that there is nobody in the intersection – using CPMs to contradict the roadside unit.

In the second simulated case, vehicle A plays the culprit. It sends a corrupted CAM message with wrong speed and location data, claiming that it’s fully stopped in the middle of the intersection. The RSU works correctly, recognizes that the vehicle is already away and there’s a drivable free space at the intersection. So the RSU sends out a CPM message containing freespace information.


Vehicle B receives both the wrong CAM and the right CPM messages, and the misbehavior detection algorithm running on the vehicle’s V2X onboard unit checks both data.

Only Commsignia’s special algorithm allows vehicle B to recognize the misbehavior from the pairing anomaly, and warn the driver of a potential danger.

New waves in vehicle communication

Our team recently completed crossborder tests as part of the European C-Roads project, and many more will follow in the coming months. The initiative emphasizes the EU’s commitment to digitizing its road infrastructure with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication. The aim of building a Cooperative Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS) to span the continent is increasing traffic efficiency and safety, as the European Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy declared last year. The system is designed to cover all road users, including cars, trucks, two-wheelers, and pedestrians. 

However, the underlying technology that paves the way for Cooperative ITS systems in Europe is discussed less. It’s similar to other wireless tools we use daily. European deployments mostly use Dedicated Short-range Communication (DSRC) wireless technology, also called the ETSI ITS-G5 standard. But there’s another term for ITS-G5: 802.11p. Sounds familiar? Yepp, it’s in the same family of wireless standards as consumer wifi, the latest version of which is known as 802.11ax or Wifi 6.

ITS-G5 being deployed in mass production

Establishing a direct connection between vehicles and roadside units is the essence of ITS-G5. All this happens in the dedicated 5.9 GHz frequency band, without using any cellular – 4G or 5G – infrastructure. A pronounced difference between home wifi and ITS-G5 is that the latter is not designed for binge-watching movies. ITS-G5’s main purpose is sending messages automatically, ten times a second, with a communication range of more than 1 kilometer, to ensure that other vehicles know the current position, speed, and direction of our vehicle. 

There’s more than a decade of work in ITS-G5 development. This has created a large ecosystem with dozens of use cases for safety.

Just as you saw home wifi becoming more and more capable, ITS-G5 is on a similar evolutionary path. The original 802.11p standard was derived from the first 802.11a version of consumer wifi.

Standardization experts say the evolution of ITS-G5 is ready to begin its next phase: that’s 802.11bd

The new ITS-G5 with 802.11bd offers lower latency, significantly higher bandwidth with 256QAM modulation, and reliable operation at a higher relative speed between two vehicles – 500 km/h altogether! Laws will probably have to be tweaked a bit before we see 250 km/h on public roads. It’ll be much easier to measure the higher data transfer rate that MIMO antenna configurations will support.

The 802.11bd specification opens the door to more complex use cases, such as sharing the data of multiple sensors between vehicles. This would allow V2X messages to have an increasing influence on the vehicle’s movement and functions. It is clear that V2X will play an increasingly important role in advanced driver-assistance systems and self-driving vehicles.

No matter what the future holds, Commsignia’s automotive-grade software will be compliant with all current and emerging technologies, ready to digitize roads with top-performing and highly secure vehicle communication solutions.

How 2021 will be the year of V2X

The V2X market will force car manufacturers to change

National authorities have made decisions about supported technologies, making the global V2X market directions clearer. Generation Z is becoming a purchasing power, the Zoomers, who take connectivity and automation as granted. If all that weren’t enough, the requirements will also evolve so that some kind of vehicle communication solution will be a requirement for a five-star NCAP rating. Everything points in the direction of V2X. 

Good news: V2X technology is already one of the cheapest ADAS tool, and it’s getting more affordable. Chipmakers are creating new opportunities to offer V2X on different price segments. This means that the V2X market is set to expand rapidly. 

Another part of the story is that driver assistant systems must work under any circumstances.  It comes with the scary image of design flaws causing personal injury – litigation costs are extraordinary, not to mention recalls. Another good news we have:

V2X serves as an extra layer of protective gear

Reducingliability risks and the costs involved in the higher levels of self driving make OEMs use more and more sensors. Lidars are very expensive, and carmakers’ legendary cost-awareness is really a fight over the pennies. The price of computing power is also an issue, and it really does matter whether image information and other sensory data or simple messages need to be processed. We at Commsignia are focusing on offering high performance V2X solutions with a small resource footprint to enable the rollout of V2X on more cars.

How can V2X support existing ADAS systems? It is quite certain that connected and non-connected cars will share the same roads for a while, and we conducted extensive research in situations like that. One example is providing lane change assistance and drivable area recognition supported by V2X infrastructure. We’ve found that Collective Perception Messages (CPM) help self-driving trucks in lane change maneuvers, even when there are non-connected, human driven cars in the next lane. Such applications make the transition to self driving much smoother and safer. 

There’s another argument in favor of V2X: 

onboard sensors can only perceive the present, events that are happening right now. 

On the other hand, V2X offers a glimpse into the near future, warning drivers of events they may encounter on their route very soon. A good example of this is intention sharing, when the V2X infrastructure can predict that a vehicle crossing a driver’s route will violate the red light, risking an accident. Traffic lights play a central role in our most complex V2X project in Las Vegas, where self driving buses and self driving passenger car fleets show how the infrastructure and onboard sensors can work together.

We at Commsignia see a bright future for V2X in 2021, so we can make driving safer.

In this blogpost, we summarize the webinar presented at the Automotive Tech Week – Megatrends conference, organized by Wards Auto.

It all started 5 years ago with the Budapest University of Technology

We have a 5 years long cooperation with BME, a known and recognised educational institution, and BME’s Department of Networked Systems and Services (BME HIT) has strong competences in the field. To date, 32 BSc and MSc engineers were graduated from BME’s Automotive Communication Research Group, and more than five hundred students attended the introductory lectures and practical laboratory exercises on V2X technologies.

Studies published by the students working with Commsignia have won various awards, and some of our students were able to take part in projects with a European car manufacturer in which they could work on V2X standards.

These technologies actually became a part of the next generation of vehicle communications standards.

It’s very easy to become lost in questions that are theoretically complex but not focused enough on a single industrial challenge. Commsignia brings relevant industrial topics which motivates students and allows us to guide them towards exciting independent research, theses, studies and PhD courses – says Dr. László Bokor, associate professor at BME, who’s giving lectures about V2X cooperative intelligent transportation systems at the university.

As one of our colleagues, András Wippelhauser (also a BME alumni) said: accident free and efficient transportation are two things everyone would like to see in the future, and his goal is to create as many V2X applications as possible. That’s exactly what we will work on in 2021 and beyond.

Commsignia is a supporting member of the Connected Motorcycle Consortium

By joining the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) we would like to emphasize the importance of bikers’ safety and acknowledge the careful attention bikers need in the C-ITS world.

From a safety point of view, motorcycles are special players in the traffic. The bike itself is a motorized vehicle, just like cars. At the same time the rider is as vulnerable as a pedestrian or a pedaling cyclist. That alone would be enough to see how important it is to include motorcycles in the V2X ecosystem.

It becomes even more pressing if we add the visibility issues bikers struggle with, risking their lives on the road. One of my neighbours illustrated this very well recently, when he bought a silent mid size scooter, only to drill the exhaust a week later after getting into a dangerous situation with a careless car driver. It’s a low cost do-it-yourself approach to V2X, a primitive but effective solution to warn others in the traffic.

A majority of motorcycle accidents happen because a car driver doesn’t recognize the rider.

Bikers can disappear in cars’ blind spots, and drivers sometimes fail to recognize a motorcycle even when they are looking at them. It’s not a big surprise that motorcyclists are trying to find a way to communicate with drivers. 

The movement and the dynamics of a motorcycle create extra challenges for safety systems. Just think about how bikers lean in a corner, changing the height and width of the whole unit. Motorcycles easily move forward between lanes, from one blind spot to another. Driver-assistance sensors recognize motorcycles in proximity, but not even the most advanced ones can see behind a large truck or a corner. V2X will be able to extend the perceived area with sensor data sharing to help drivers prepare for an unexpected situation.

The motorcycle industry realized that V2X can give bikers digital visibility, significantly reducing the risks, and CMC has already made progress in several motorcycle specific use cases, fine-tuning V2X messages and experimenting with special antennas, with a focus on safety solutions. We are happy to join the Connected Motorcycle Consortium and support these efforts to connect two-wheelers with the C-ITS ecosystem.

EU’s Smart Mobility Strategy offers huge opportunities for C-ITS

The new EU strategy is mainly focusing on zero emission vehicles, high-speed rail networks and micromobility, and C-ITS have tremendous opportunities in many related areas. Those battery electric vehicles will come with 3 million public charging stations planned to be set up by 2030, and V2X will come handy to optimize the load on the grid. 

Not all cars are equal at the charging station. 

Most of the family vehicles probably run less than an hour per day (more typical in the EU than in the US), only a minority needs the fastest charging possible. Cooperative and communicating vehicles can easily arrange power usage with the infrastructure, based on general preferences, ad-hoc settings or usage patterns analyzed by AI algorithms.

One hundred European cities will be carbon neutral by 2030 according to the strategy, and this is a goal where C-ITS can play an even bigger role. The area of car-free zones will increase, leaving more areas for pedestrians and micromobility services including bicycles, e-scooters and other exotic personal transportation devices. Road usage must be highly optimized to let the traffic flow as safely and fast as possible, and the flexibility offered by V2X will be more than welcome.

Traffic light information, warnings about vulnerable road users in the proximity of the vehicle, dynamic speed limits are all on the V2X menu, giving drivers the confidence in this increasingly complex environment.

Safety goal: zero road fatalities

Some of our partners have different goals with V2X, trying to reduce air pollution and congestion with digital road infrastructure. Just imagine a 15 tonnes heavy truck in front of you in the traffic, as it’s struggling to gain speed after a full stop at the red light. Feel that unpleasant smoke? That same truck could optimize it’s speed for greens, not stopping at all, while other vehicles could easily pass by. It’s a win for everyone.

As the strategy states, we will see automated mobility deployed at a large scale during the next 3 decades. Self driving vehicles should also rely on V2X infrastructure, as they do in our Las Vegas deployment, to see beyond the street corners, perfectly align with traffic lights, so they can travel reliably and safely on public roads shared with older, non self driving cars. 

Regardless of the expected high degree of automation this ambitious strategy won’t become a reality automatically. Artificial Intelligence and 5G support the future of transportation, therefore a decent 5G coverage, harmonized and abundant spectrum and legal support for new technologies such as self driving vehicles is a must. A strongly supported pan-European deployment plan along the busiest trade corridors will surely boost C-ITS development, and push the EU towards a smart and sustainable future.

Welcome C-V2X, farewell DSRC in the US!

Only 30 MHz left for vehicle communications.

It’s much less than the original 75 MHz, and the ITS industry would surely be more pleased with a wider spectrum.

The FCC also took care of the rivalry between the long-known Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) and the relatively newcomer C-V2X. Vehicles and road infrastructure must use C-V2X in the future.

With the fact that DSRC is (almost) dead in the water, at least in the US, we can’t help but remember what happened before on the mobile operators’ market, when GSM and CDMA competed. Both technologies had their advantages, but lack of interoperability harmed customers’ interests. The introduction of 4G united the cellular market under a single technology, and also set the track for upgrading to 5G. Spectrum may come and go, but industries adapt.

It’s literally the 5G moment of V2X.

Moving forward with C-V2X removes the uncertainty on the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) market, and we believe that it’ll speed up V2X deployments in the US. We’ve prepared for the change, offering dual mode and C-V2X gears since 2019, and we’re ready to help our partners in transitioning to the narrowed band with this technology.

The new US administration is still being formed, but preliminary statements suggest that environmental protection will play an important role for the new Cabinet. It offers a great opportunity for the whole ITS ecosystem to shift to a higher gear. Air pollution can be reduced by increasing the efficiency of transport, and this is one of the goals of road operators and city planners with V2X installations.

As 4G wireless propelled the US economy by spurring investment and creating millions of jobs, so can C-V2X change the trajectory of the transportation business, and offer a more sustainable, environment-friendly way of delivering goods.

On the C-Roads again with Magyar Közút

Hungarian Roads started this pioneering work years ago, providing VRU safety at road constructions as early as 2015.

They already covered the M1 Highway between Budapest and the Austrian border and the M0 ring around Budapest, putting Commsignia’s roadside units (RSU) on variable-message boards and emergency call boxes along the route. Hungarian Roads plans to cover the M7 and M70 highway too, from Budapest to the Slovenian border. 

All in all Hungarian Roads have 27 roadside units on fixed locations and 20 other units are on vehicles carrying workers to the road construction sites, so it’s easy to send warnings where it’s really needed. These V2X-enabled roads are important east-west transit corridors and the deployment is part of the European C-Roads Platform.

In Győr city Hungarian Roads installed RSUs at 10 intersections along one of the main roads, V2X messages show the time until the traffic lights turn green, very useful. It may seem like green light information is only good for the drivers, but it also helps to reduce congestion and air pollution as it can help V2X-enabled cars to get through the green lights smoothly by choosing the right speed. Speeding up is one of the most polluting part of driving, especially for sluggish trucks and buses.

Commsignia’s roadside units were integrated into Hungarian Roads’ traffic management system in a way that it can generate standard V2X messages, so any vehicle passing by with a compatible onboard unit can get useful information from the V2X traffic management system. The same messages other drivers can only see on the message boards and by looking at the lights.

Just can’t wait to get on the road again,
with V2X-enabled cars.

Green light for safety on Virginia roads

Imagine yourself in your car. Do you feel the comfortable seat, the refreshing air conditioning, hear that great sound system? Now imagine yourself driving in the morning traffic, trying to catch every single green light to get there in time, avoiding road works on the way.

Different image, huh? 

This is exactly where high tech safety features such as vehicle communications come into the picture, to calm our nerves and increase our confidence behind the steering wheel. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology means that cars talk with each other and with the infrastructure around them using standardized digital messages to help us get through the traffic as safely as possible. 

One of the great features of this technology helps us with the traffic lights. I like to drive smoothly, like flowing water in the riverbed, so I tried to memorize the timing of the traffic lights in my area, but the situation is just too random for this. Not to mention unfamiliar roads on which this approach doesn’t work at all.

The V2X deployment set up by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), partnering with Commsignia, Audi, Traffic Technology Services, Qualcomm and American Tower Corp, provides a solution to catch those green lights. 

Commsignia’s roadside units are transmitting green light information using cellular V2X (C-V2X) communication technology in a standardized Time To Green message, so we can see a countdown to the green light. Audi Q8 SUVs already have this kind of Traffic Light Information service, but the cars used in the trial were retrofitted with C-V2X onboard units to increase the level of safety. 

C-V2X messages warn of oncoming red light violations which allows us to react quickly, before we get into a messed up situation.

Another way V2X can help is when lanes are closed due to road works. This is most risky for workers, countless fatal accidents happening every year. C-V2X-enabled vests warned staff in the work zone with sound and light alarms of the V2X-enabled Audi Q8s passing nearby, and a notification also appeared in the vehicles, saying: Drive carefully! 

We’re looking forward to many more deployments like this on the roads to have a safe and smooth drive everywhere. Now tell us, is it a better picture of how you want to imagine yourself in a car?

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