In these early days of smart cities and connected cars, Savari has emerged as a V2X (that’s vehicle-to-everything) innovator. Now it’s joined the 5G Automotive Association to bring cellular communications to connected cars.
This technology doesn’t merely provide faster cell service on the morning commute. Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) is a communications system for connected cars to share data with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure — no humans required. With 5G, cars can send and receive messages 10 times per second. The data can be analyzed quickly enough to provide as much as 3 seconds’ advance warning before an accident might happen, according to Savari.
Using 5G communications means that the collected data also can be uploaded to the cloud and distributed via the cellular network to other cars using 5G. This will give other drivers more information even earlier. Rather than relying on the data to avoid an imminent crash, the network can tell traffic to avoid that stretch of road altogether until the accident is cleared.
The 5G Automotive Association already has a few dozen members, including OEMs like Audi, Ford and Daimler, automotive suppliers like Bosch, Denso and Continental, and cellular industry companies like Verizon, Samsung and LG. Savari says its role in the group will be to help create standards that work across the industry as semi-autonomous cars and fully autonomous cars are tested and eventually sold.
You may be wondering about dedicated short-range communications, or DSRC, technology, which is already being tested in V2X communications for vehicles and infrastructure. It sends simple radio signals based on Wi-Fi technology. While cellular carriers are pushing the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adopt 5G over DSRC for V2X programs going forward, other companies, like Qualcomm, say they’re ready to roll with either communications technology.
Right now, neither technology is very widely deployed. The main advantage of C-V2X is that it’s nearly twice as fast as DSRC. When a self-driving car is gathering data to prevent crashes, that speed is going to be crucial. The main advantage of DSRC is that it’s been developed and tested for more than a decade; its stability and familiarity is likely to appeal to NHTSA, which will issue a mandate on V2X communications.