How 5G Will Accelerate Connected Vehicles

Connected Vehicles (CV) are a broad-ranging concept that includes technology, products and services, application scenarios, business models, and policies and regulations. CV in the form of telematics has been around since 2009, but it hasn’t evolved much beyond basic scenario diversification, despite advances in the mobile Internet, and has yet to create any network value.

Where Do We Fit In?

Huawei’s CV work, thus far, has focused on three areas.

Cloud: Here, “cloud” refers to a combination of Huawei’s OceanConnect IoT cloud platform and public cloud. While OceanConnect wasn’t specifically designed as a vertical CV platform, it is a cross-industry IoT platform, designed for large numbers of connections, featuring big data analysis, rapid application enablement, and hierarchical decoupling of services and applications, making it highly suitable for the auto industry.

Pipes: CV applications in the current telematics stage do not require low wireless network latency, with most current CV products relying on 3G (WCDMA) networks. Mainstream CV services do not require high-speed network transmission either, with very few manufacturers having adopted 4G LTE. These modules are expensive and mainly used to provide in-vehicle Wi-Fi at present, but 4G modules, networks, and data tariffs will eventually commoditize, and Huawei is developing a cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) solution for LTE-Vehicle (LTE-V) scenarios, such as autonomous driving and smart traffic integration, which is still in the proof of concept stage.

Devices: For a car to transmit data or connect to a network, an in-vehicle communication module called a T-box is needed. Huawei’s first product was a customizable 3G/4G T-box for CV.

Connected Vehicles are Evolving

Huawei sees the CV evolutionary process as having three stages. The first was the telematics stage led by automotive companies, which has largely already happened. The second is a multi-partner CV ecosystem that is now starting to form. And third will be a future intelligent transportation system (ITS) with shared mobility. Huawei’s key focus is on the last two stages, with the goal of developing intelligent transportation services through multi-industry collaboration between automakers, transportation departments, telecom operators, and cloud providers.

Stage 1: Telematics Enabled by OceanConnect

Huawei has not been involved in traditional car networking platforms for telematics, as such, but we have become a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider, using our OceanConnect IoT platform.

OceanConnect lets car companies transmit onboard data securely, reliably, and efficiently to the cloud, making cars a core digitalization asset for automakers, and OceanConnect a next-gen digitalization engine, where onboard data is made available to a raft of upper-layer applications, and evolution to LTE-V and AI is supported.

OceanConnect offers basic management capabilities for connections, devices, and applications, with regularly-released CV suites accelerating application implementation for industry partners. This solution also provides unified, secure CV access through layered security architecture and IoT agents for T-boxes and in-vehicle infotainment systems, which simplify adaptation to different device manufacturers’ protocols. Interoperability with automakers’ legacy IT/OT systems enable unified data presentation and management, while lowering the costs of business investment.

Cloud computing, big data, and networking capabilities are also available, combined with pre-integrated partner capabilities, and packaged as different enablement suites. Car companies can use these suites to choose services they need on the platform and meet end-user travel requirements.

Stage 2: LTE-V-based intelligence

V2X communicates information between cars and all entities that may affect them, with the aim of reducing accidents, easing congestion, reducing pollution, and providing information. V2X incorporates vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-network (V2N) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) scenarios.

The two primary forms of V2X technology are dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and LTE-V. DSRC was first introduced in the US and has seen a number of years of development and testing since standards its 2010 release. C-V2X (LTE-V) has emerged as cellular mobile communication technology, and offers advantages over DSRC in chip costs, technology, and business modeling, and has, as such, seen rapid development.

ETSI has defined 53 V2X application scenarios, while 3GPP has defined 27. Major uses include:

Road Safety: includes alerts for emergency braking, vehicle problems, intersection collisions, dangerous road conditions, and vulnerable road users.

Traffic Efficiency: includes speed guidance for traffic lights, green wave, congestion alerts, and traffic light priority for emergency vehicles.

LTE-V utilizes existing cellular networks and spectrum to provide V2X information exchange. LTE-V has two modes: LTE-V-cellular and LTE-V-direct. The former is centralized, with communications taking place through the Uu interface. The latter is distributed, with direct car-to-car and car-to-road communication achieved via PC5.

LTE-V standards were set in 3GPP R14. China’s standards bodies C-ITS and CCSA are accelerating the standardization of LTE-V. Huawei is one of three appointed reporters for LTE-V standards. In September 2017, LTE-V 5.9GHz spectrum testing was completed under the guidance of the National Radio Monitoring and Testing Center. Testing results were in line with expectations, and are expected to be released this year

Stage 3: 5G-based ITS

5G will enable a fully connected world, and the car industry will be among the first sectors to be transformed. Offering ultra-low latency, and ultra-high bandwidth and reliability, 5G networks will enhance safety and efficiency in the transportation sector.

The standardization of NR-V2X is speeding up, with Uu air interface and Sidelink standards anticipated to be fixed in R16 and R17. This will enable the commercial adoption of CV based on 5G, which will be a considerable boost to autonomous driving. The main application scenarios will include tele-operated driving (TOD), high-density vehicle platooning, and rapid coordinated lane-change assistance.

TOD solutions will leverage remote driving control systems, supported by high-performance 5G networks, to transmit 360-degree views of a vehicle’s surroundings to a control room via onboard cameras and sensors, acting as the eyes and senses of the driver. This will enable the closed-loop remote control of cars, as remote drivers make decisions and operate cars based on this information.

In June 2017, China Mobile, SAIC Motor, and Huawei jointly completed the first demonstration of 5G-based remote driving technology in China. During the demo, the remote driver was able to drive a car from tens of kilometers away with accuracy and ease, enabled by the 5G network’s ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-low latency.

This case required a 50 Mbps upstream rate to transmit the multi-channel HD video collected by the car in real time to the driving console, while the driver’s control signals were transmitted to the vehicle in under 10 ms via the ultra-low latency 5G network – as fast as an onboard human driver could react.

TOD technology will have many applications on sites with fixed road routes, such as airports and ports, as well as in harsh environments like mining, construction, and waste disposal sites. It will also be used to complement autonomous vehicles such as taxis or shared cars services, with vehicles remotely driven and coordinated.

To learn more about what Huawei has achieved with OceanConnect, click here.

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