As 5G makes its way across the landscape, it has people, and vehicles talking – to each other. Ericsson recently revealed results of its latest tests for V2X (Vehicle to Everything). The V2X universe has a range of applications: cars communicating with one another, with traffic lights or parking spaces, with nearby pedestrians, or with central planning systems that are coordinating the flow of traffic. All of these use cases will have different sets of requirements, which need to be handled efficiently and cost-effectively.
Current cellular networks already provide tools that address some of the technology and business requirements of connected vehicles. For example, LTE Cat-M and Narrow Band-Internet of Things are excellent low-power sensor communication technologies, according to Ericsson. Network slicing, already possible with existing 4G connectivity, is another tool that enables operators to provide virtualized end-to-end networks, optimized for certain use-cases or industry segments.
However, in order to enable complex vehicle maneuvering, it must be feasible for autonomous vehicles to share their driving intentions in rapid two-way communications. These interactions will make it possible for vehicles to behave as smart clusters rather than inert, individual units.
Ericsson, as part of a European consortium studying V2X capabilities, recently tested lane merging in highway situations, including speed and lane adjustments. The stationary sensors were able to assist in coordinating the influx of data, allowing the autonomous cars to navigate in and out of traffic. 5G is the mechanism that makes the communication speed between all the various mechanisms possible.
The V2X Ecosystem has its beginning in a 4G environment, but the expansion of 5G availability makes connected cars and highways an area of great interest, according to Ericsson. More testing and cooperation between countries and companies is needed, but each successful application moves the project forward.
September 12, 2019