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. 

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, V2X is just around the corner, NCAP will make it mandatory in the near future for a top safety rating. Our view is that this will result in a steep adoption rate. No OEM will want to be left behind by the competitors.

Car owners probably won’t know about the connectivity in their car.

But it doesn’t really matter who knows what about the onboard connectivity. Everyone will check safety ratings instead, that’s easy to understand. 

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.

Here’s the technology needed for an NCAP 5-star rating

According to NCAP’s public roadmap, V2X features will be necessary for achieving an NCAP 5-star rating after 2024. Obviously, this is something all manufacturers need to keep in mind since customers consider safety features important. Nonetheless, there are still some questions about the potential of V2X. This blog post aims to answer these questions and show where we currently stand with V2X implementation.

Most people buy top rated models.

Industry talks have begun and Commsignia is participating. No worries, we are on time, NCAP pointed out that work with V2X needs to start in 2021. This joint effort guarantees that car manufacturers and suppliers can prepare for clear and uniformly supported requirements. 

Some manufacturers have already taken action with V2X. A well known example is the VW Golf 8, which uses Dedicated Short-range Communication (DSRC, ETSI ITS-G5) signals to send warnings about events on the road.

Secure and low-latency communication of vehicles can cover situations where other ADAS solutions don’t work.

We believe that an accident-free and highly optimized transportation system is not possible without V2X. V2X messages warn drivers about construction zones with a temporary speed limit, local hazards, nearby accidents or approaching emergency vehicles. V2X also makes it easier to adjust speed to the traffic lights and road conditions.

Our mission is to support the automotive industry in its journey towards this goal. With our deep knowledge of V2X, carmakers can develop more advanced safety features.

What’s your take on the future of V2X and vehicle safety? How important is the NCAP 5-star rating to you? Contact us to discuss the possibilities we offer.

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.