“Spectrum, really the airwaves, is the gold mine,” states Rajiv Mathur, Ph.D., Smart Transportation Programs Prospect Silicon Valley. Mathur was referring to an area of agreement between two competing technological approaches that allow vehicles to communicate with each other, with infrastructure and “things” and, conceivably, even pedestrians. The above interview recaps a 1/23/19, ProspectSV forum that featured a spirited discussion between representatives from each of these camps.
Toyota’s John Kenney advocated for staying on the DSRC roadmap (see this interview with the Director of the ITS Joint Program Office of the U.S. DOT for an overview of DSRC). Qualcomm Technologies’ Jim Misener argued that the C-V2X approach built on radio technology that will also be used in 5G/cellular networks and will have the scale advantage. And even though both camps have notable names (such as Toyota & GM supporting DSRC and Ford and Qualcomm supporting C-V2X), the real driver of this technology may end up being China, the world’s largest auto and smartphone market.
[added 2/11/19 – And WISPA brings another angle to the discussion in its 2/8/19 submission (PDF) to the FCC arguing that the FCC should reject the 5GAA’s waiver’s request (association advocating for C-V2X) as there already is an open proceeding about identifying ways to share the spectrum for auto and other uses. This association of wireless ISPs warns the FCC not to make a mistake by dedicating spectrum (20 MHz in this case) to a specific technology, such as they did with DSRC).]
Whether this becomes a Beta versus VHS battle, as has been suggested, Savari is there to support either protocol. Savari’s CEO Ravi Puvvala set the stage for the forum’s discussion by outlining the type of applications that could be possible, once vehicles and infrastructure have a common language for communicating what they are seeing and doing. The potential applications (listed on the Department of Transportation website) are many, but it remains to be seen what applications move from slides to the real world.
Michaela Vanderveen of Blackberry addressed the real-world concern of security and explained the necessity of a Security Credential Management System to ensure the integrity of V2X messages. And the solution she showed works with both DSRC and C-V2X.
Mobile networks may become truly mobile in a decade or two if the research, Ajith Amerasekera, Executive Director, Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC), and his colleagues are doing is commercialized. By leveraging the inherent capacity of the millimeter-wave spectrum with multi-input, multi-output antennas (MIMO) and beamforming, BWRC has demonstrated nominal bandwidths of 16 Gbs. Although this is orders and orders more bandwidth than is needed for today’s vehicle-to-vehicle communications, it could represent the basis for a new telecommunications infrastructure that serves both fixed and mobile devices.