MADISON, Wis. — Connected car advocates are ardently urging the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to promptly mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology, collectively known as V2X, before President Obama leaves the White House.
In their view, the U.S. regulators’ action is long overdue.
But elsewhere in the world, the choice of radio technology for connected cars remains far from clear.
The U.S. mandate, if the DOT delivers, is likely to specify IEEE 802.11p/DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communication) as its V2X radio. DSRC-based V2X is ready for deployment after more than 15 years of development and testing in the United States.
The rest of the world, however, could bypass DSRC, and even leapfrog it, by opting for cellular-based V2X — first via LTE and then 5G.
Thanks to concerted lobbying efforts by cellular operators, and cellular technology advocates like Qualcomm, Ericsson and Nokia, regions such as China and Europe could lean toward the adoption of LTE-V2X, instead of IEEE 802.11p/DSRC operating in dedicated 5.9GHz bandwidth.
Savari, a leading supplier of DSRC-based V2X technology, is fully aware of the changes in the air.
Although not exactly pivoting, Savari now says it’s “agnostic to DSRC and LTE-V2X radio technologies, and interoperates with multiple wireless chip vendors.” Ravi Puvvala, Savari’s CEO, told EE Times, even when some countries decide to use a different radio for V2X, “It will be fine, because everything else above MAC layer, including applications, will remain the same.”
Instead of insisting on the use of DSRC, Savari now wants to be flexible and help other countries to lay out a V2X framework. It hopes to adapt as the market evolves.
V2X in China?
A case in point is Savari’s aggressive foray into the Chinese market.
The company announced Tuesday an agreement with SAIC USA Inc., a fully owned subsidiary of Chinese automaker SAIC Motors to manufacture and distribute Savari’s V2X communications solutions in Greater China and a few ASEAN countries.
Savari's RSU, OBU
Savari is providing SAIC with aftermarket V2X safety devices called on-board units (OBU) and V2X roadside units (RSU) for smart intersections. The Savari technologies are based on DSRC radio.
While acknowledging “there is a strong belief that China is going to deploy LTE-based cellular V2X,” Savari’s CEO Puvvala told us, “China is eager to deploy [and test] V2X now” by using DSRC.
Currently, there are no commercially available LTE-V2X chips. More important, the initial LTE-V2X draft standard, issued recently, won’t be ratified until mid-2017.
Further, performance comparisons between LTE-V2X and DSRC-based V2X have been evaluated thus far entirely based on simulations, not on live trials, explained Savari’s Puvvala.
Therefore, anyone interested in testing V2X at this point would need to rely on DSRC-based V2X solutions.
Shanghai International Auto City (Source: Savari)
Savari and SAIC are already working to “fulfill a substantial order from two customers” — Shanghai International Automobile City and Tongji University, according to Savari. The latter two are planning to implement “a live open road smart city testbed featuring both LTE-V and DSRC based V2X solutions in the National Intelligent CV Pilot in Shanghai’s International Auto City,” said Savari. The smart city will feature more than 10,000 vehicles equipped with Savari’s V2X solutions, the company added.
Next page: Why DSRC?