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Monday - November 8, 2021

Redundant Wireless Communication for V2X Systems

Autonomous vehicle sensor technology is improving and cars need a reliable method to share all of that critical information with their environment. Vehicles will need to communicate with other vehicles, pedestrians and bikers, traffic infrastructure and more if we are to realize true autonomy. Most automotive OEMs understand the importance of sensor redundancy in self-driving cars in order to fill technology gaps and mitigate risk. If one sensor performs poorly in rainy conditions, another sensor can be relied upon to provide the relevant data. This poses as important question – should redundant or hybrid wireless communication be employed to ensure critical data is transferred rapidly and accurately?

Which Protocol: Cellular or Wireless?

There are currently two technologies vying for dominance in vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication. Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) was the first technology to gain traction when, in 1999 the FCC allocated 75MHz of bandwidth for DSRC within the wireless 5.9GHz band. The alternative, based on cellular technology, is Cellular V2X (C-V2X) which communicates via centralized 5G infrastructure. While both technologies are capable of secure, rapid data transfer, geopolitical forces have prevented the adoption of a single standard.

However, within the past year there has been a notable shift away from DSRC due to the FCC voting to reallocate the previously dedicated 75MHz spectrum. According to IHS, this ruling indicates an intent to accelerate C-V2X technology instead.

Building Vehicle Networks with Antennas

While 5G capable cars first hit the road in 2020, IHS reports that more than 70 brands will support the technology by 2023. In order to communicate, vehicles need to be equipped with antennas that can transmit and receive radio waves. There are various types of antennas in a vehicle such as GNSS/GPS to enable location services, SDARS and AM/FM for radio, WiFi/Bluetooth to facilitate device connection and LTE for cellular communication.

Vehicle connectivity is an expected feature when purchasing a new vehicle, however drivers also look for a sleek and low-profile design. Remember the antennas from the 90’s that stuck up three feet from the car – that antenna was just for the radio! Manufacturers and suppliers have worked to reduce the size while also cramming in even more antenna technologies that drive vehicle connectivity today. Integrated antennas combine GNSS/GPS, radio, WiFi/BT and LTE into a single package that can be customized according to OEM requirements.

All of these antennas help vehicles talk and listen to other objects which ultimately creates a network of various vehicles, people, devices and more.

Maximize passenger safety with redundant systems

In order to avoid accidents, autonomous cars need overlapping sensor technologies. Why stop there? By incorporating multiple methods of communication OEMs can minimize service interruptions and build resilient C-V2X systems. With DSRC being phased out, there should be measures put in place to ensure this single communication protocol is secure and reliable. Integrating redundant antenna solutions can help limit opportunities for failure within vehicles and maximize passenger safety.

Christian Voegerl
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