Future-Proofing Automotive V2X

Questions remain about how far out the industry can reasonably plan due to the pace of change in technology and standards.


Experts at the Table: Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss Vehicle-To-Everything (V2X) technology and the path to deployment with Shawn Carpenter, program director, 5G and space at Ansys; Lang Lin, principal product manager at Ansys; Daniel Dalpiaz, senior manager product marketing, Americas, green industrial power division at Infineon; David Fritz, vice president of virtual and hybrid systems at Siemens EDA; and Ron DiGiuseppe, senior marketing manager, automotive IP segment at Synopsys. What follows are excerpts from that conversation. To view part one of the discussion, click here. Part two is here.

L-R: Ansys' Carpenter; Ansys' Lin; Infineon’s Dalpiaz; Siemens EDA’s Fritz; Synopsys‘ DiGiuseppe.
L-R: Ansys’ Carpenter; Ansys’ Lin; Infineon’s Dalpiaz; Siemens EDA’s Fritz; Synopsys’ DiGiuseppe.

SE: Technology development will enable V2X. How will the market evolve over time?

Carpenter: We’re only limited in where we can find buyers. Where is the compelling spot? What is it that consumers are really interested in? Where do they see that value added to their lives? We can make your teenage drivers much safer, and your elderly drivers much safer. We are beginning to find those messages that resonate with people where they live. I spend lots of time trying to extol the virtues of really technical things, but a consumer doesn’t care about whether I can help you design a better antenna. What does this mean to me in terms of how I live day-to-day? The only reason I don’t drive an electric vehicle right now is I frequently go visit grandchildren who live more than 350 miles away, and our infrastructure is lacking on some of those wide open spaces. This really is a U.S. problem, but you could get stuck waiting for an hour, hour and a half, and maybe driving 40 miles out of the way to get to the charging station. I’m not sure I’m ready for that on my long trip.

DiGiuseppe: Separate from electrification, V2X has a primary role in safety in minimizing crashes and all the new ADAS capabilities, which are really helpful, but are almost all line-of-sight. You have a forward-facing camera, long-range radar, ultrasonic, but those are line-of-sight even with a 360° surround view. It’s 360° line-of-sight. Even in a rural use case, where you’d have a big rig driving next to you and another car you cannot see on the other side of the big rig, V2X looks around corners, looks on the other side of vehicles, and broadcasts the safety messages that ADAS line-of-sight technologies don’t include. So even just looking around corners, V2X adds a lot of capabilities for safety. It’s a technology that has direct benefits, but that message has to get out to consumers.

Carpenter: I’d love to see a feature where someone has a map of the city on my display and shows me where the available parking spots are right now so I could drive to one quickly. Wouldn’t that be a great service if someone could set that up?

SE: What advice would you give to companies that want to play a part in this space?

Lin: Security and safety are important for V2X, but it’s not well broadcasted, and users do not know what that means. Today we have the Department of Motor Vehicles that teaches you how to drive a car, for example, make sure the lights are on, change gears, etc., but is there some kind of vehicle safety or communication-wide application book for the drivers to learn from to say, “I should follow this guide to make sure I don’t get into trouble about a safety issue. Safety first, always, for the drivers. That sounds like it requires technology developers, probably hardware engineers, and also some kind of government regulation to work together. There’s a long way to go, but there has to be some kind of documentation like a safety booklet for your electric car.

Fritz: My advice would be to not shoot at the target, but ahead of the target. In other words, address the challenges for five years from now, not the challenges of today.

DiGiuseppe: There are so many layers in the stack, but one of the benefits of V2X is real-time safety. You can do non-latency-sensitive applications like traffic notifications. But the real safety applications, like searching around a corner and applying the brakes if there’s a potential motorcycle coming at you — those are real-time. Cellular V2X is the technology that will apply to the real-time safety applications. Anyone should start by looking at the 5G standard. 5G has the 3GPP committee specifically added use-case features in that 5G spec for low-latency and high-reliability use cases, and my recommendation would be go to the 5G Automotive Alliance website and look at the cellular 5G standard and the safety features they’ve implemented, because that cellular V2X is really one of the baseline technologies that everyone will be using. Unlike DSRC, which we were all fond of in years back, it’s cellular that won that standards war. So I would recommend to anyone investigating this, start with that 5G standard. The 5G Automotive Alliance is a good place to start for that learning.

Carpenter: I would also suggest keep watch on what the Department of Transportation and the FAA are announcing, the initiatives they’re launching, and the studies they’re commissioning. You can follow the breadcrumb trail to where the regulatory bodies are leaning, and participate in that process. Get involved with that so that you’re really on the ground floor with the planning. If you can get involved in the standards committees, that’s a really a great way to stay attached to that. But none of that stuff goes forward until the regulatory bodies signal their intent to support it, to allow it, to embrace it, and then the industry will certainly follow. It’s really a combination of those. The industry comes up with the ideas, the regulatory bodies decide if this is something they can embrace. Do we think this is affordable? Do we think this serves the public interest? I would watch their announcements and see what they’re releasing for studies and things like that.

Dalpiaz: Staying close to the DoT is very good advice, but also anything related to scalability or platforms that is related to communications. That’s another piece, which makes things a bit easier to be adopted by different OEMs and companies. Another is standardization of the older systems and communications that we are talking about.

SE: Will there be an option to opt out of V2X?

Lin: The driver has the right to turn off the communications. Let’s say I don’t want to do car-to-car now. ‘Shut it off.’ You have to be able to, because you don’t want everything to learn from you. You want your privacy, as well.

Carpenter: There will be an interesting data privacy rights intersection here.

Fritz: I agree, opting out must be an option, but that doesn’t mean there are no ramifications. For example, you may be more liable for an accident caused while opted out.

SE: At a certain point, will we lose that ability to opt out of V2X?

DiGiuseppe: Whether it’s mandated, I have not yet heard, but I can see that being a future possibility.

Lin: If the driver is running into traffic problems, because they turn it off, it’s their responsibility. But you should have the right to shut it off. There should be a log file recording everything you have done. All the drivers should have a log there.

SE: What are your final thoughts on the interoperability of V2X technologies and where we should be headed?

DiGiuseppe: We need a testing certification infrastructure, just like the interoperability studies that the cell phone mobility providers are doing now. We need to replicate that whole system to validate the interoperability because it’s got to be a nationwide global system. And in these nationwide systems, without interoperability, it won’t work between deployments.

Carpenter: I worry about future-proofing. I had a conversation with a vice president of engineering at a company that does meters. They were doing the wireless retrofit of all the water meters, and they standardized on the 3G protocol. By the time they finally got the entire infrastructure rolled out, 3G was starting to be discontinued in some of the areas, and they said, ‘It took us 10 years to invest in this infrastructure, and now we find that we can’t depend on the service being available everywhere we put these meters in.’ So there is a product lifetime that you have to worry about. How long do we think people are going to be driving cars now that are bought? I’ve got a car that’s almost 20 years old, and I keep driving it because it’s reliable. If I had something that was communicating with the communications infrastructure we had available to us 20 years ago, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be operable today. So how do we future-proof these devices for what we believe to be the intended lifetime for these platforms in such a way that the consumer doesn’t end up having to come back and spend 20% of the cost of the car in order to update it and keep it current just for the hardware that could be reprogrammed? Will the infrastructure allow me in? Can I operate in that world when I don’t have all the services that everyone else is using with more modern vehicles? There are some consumer rights issues in there it seems that probably will have to be squared away at some point. There are lots of attorneys that are happy to work on that.

Lin: We probably really need some digital twin system or an emulator to have this interoperability test or user experience demonstration. You sit down inside a car, and then you drive, and you will start with this V2X turned on and see what can be expected. Maybe if that emulation platform is available, it would give the user more confidence.

Dalpiaz: That’s always a concern — making sure that technologies will still be able to be connected in order to communicate in the future, so that the platforms of today can still be used tomorrow. That’s why, for our microcontrollers and all our security chips, this is always something that we always keep an eye on. Still, it’s very hard to predict, because technology evolves and things change over the years.


Dr. Richard Roy says:

Cellular V2X is NOT cellular by any stretch of the imagination. It’s an 8-year old bubble gum and rubber-band technology that is substantially inferior to DSRC and much more costly. The ONLY reason it is being promoted is because the promoter, Qualcomm, holds the lion’s share of the IPR on it and is the only major supplier of such modems/chips to the free-world. Qualcomm themselves stated 6 years ago that the technology doesn’t work well at all and “should not be standardized or deployed”. C-V2X is a con-job potentially more disastrous than the one Qualcomm is famous for … CDMA! If you want to know the facts about what is really going on, don’t hesitate to contact me at your convenience.

Dr. Richard Roy
Founder, ArrayComm, Inc.
email: [email protected] or [email protected]
mobile: +1-650-861-3351

PS. I have been involved in the development and standardization of V2X technology for over 20 years. I worked on IEEE 802.11p/bd (aka US DSRC) and am currently involved with developing SAE J3161 (aka C-V2X).

PPS. TIme is of the essence. The community MUST band together quickly to expose this con and get back on the right track … US DSRC! The longer we wait, the more entrenched the very dangerous C-V2X meme becomes and the more difficult it becomes to eliminate this mind virus!

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