Lanctot added, "Most important likely and emerging alternatives are LTE Advanced -- which includes proximity communication between modules not requiring tower-only communication -- WiFi Direct, and both embedded modems and smartphone-based technologies." Further, "executives at both GM and Qualcomm have proposed handset deployment of DSRC technology, which may even enable pedestrian detection, though DSRC purists scoff at this."
The very notion of integrating DSRC into smartphones is interesting. It could even bypass the quandary of how to retrofit cars without DSRC.
Strategy Analytics' Riches told EE Times, "The smartphone is becoming ubiquitous amongst vehicle owners. When is the last time you took a drive without one?" He contends that leveraging the LTE platform could lead to a much more rapid rollout of V2X capabilities across the fleet.
Of course, there are critics who are worried about LTE's latency issues. Riches, while conceding the point, noted, "They may have a point for some highly time-critical situations -- but these are the ones that are often better served with on-board sensors."
Perhaps, one of the biggest mistakes the United States is making in its vision for the future of V2X is the conspicuous absence of US mobile operators in the debate, according to Egil Juliussen, HIS Automotive's principal analyst responsible for infotainment and ADAS. He pointed out that cellular operators are natural partners for V2X, because their cell towers can integrate V2I. Without leveraging the cellular infrastructure to integrate V2I, V2X will be a much more expensive proposition. In contrast, he told us, in Europe, the mobile industry has been actively participating in V2X trials.
Riches, pointing out that most government and big-industry developments are avoiding LTE, said, "That could be a big mistake."
He elaborated: "If certain vehicle functions are only available when the car is connected via some form of V2X, then those functions can only take off when there is a significant proportion of the road network and/or fleet that supports those technologies. It's building a new network from scratch."
How the industry will deal with V2X's lack of scalability remains unknown. "It's a bit crazy," Riches added, "and no one has really explained to me who is going to pay for it all."
Meanwhile, Japan, which has gone ahead with building ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) spot services infrastructure, appears to be going through a major rethinking of its strategy. (See: Japan No Longer Gung-Ho on Vehicle-to-Infra Alone.)