Re-routing Our Connected and Autonomous Future


Since the development of the first vehicle in the year 1886, known as the “Benz Patent Motor Car, model no. 1,” the Automotive Industry has made great progress in improving production and performance, reducing resources and costs and improving safety systems. All innovations to this point have been focused on individual vehicle improvements.

Today, automakers and their suppliers face new challenges, such as protecting our environment and managing change in an unstable economy. Focus is shifting from building individual vehicles to developing affordable transportation systems that ensure mobility demands without impacting the environment. The automotive industry now must overcome new barriers to help us reach this connected and autonomous future:

    1. The success of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems/Autonomous Driving (ADAS/AD) systems is dependent on the capability to exchange and analyze data in real time without violating privacy rules, losing intellectual property or creating safety risks from cyberattacks. Data management and analytics solutions combined with secured and reliable connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure are required. Neither the technology and data protocols nor the responsibilities and rights have been decided and standardized.
    2. All companies involved in the transportation system of the future must be connected and able to exchange data to be successful. Government regulations and the required smart city infrastructure to enable this communication are not yet in place.

Roadblock or Detour?

A good example of the complexity involved in this evolution of the automotive industry is the 2020 decision of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reallocate a portion of spectrum previously reserved for connected car safety-related use cases to make it available for wireless broadband applications such as Wi-Fi hotspots. In 1999, the FCC set aside the 5.9 GHz band for dedicated short-range radio communication (DSRC) technologies that provide high reliability, low latency, high bandwidth, low interference and cybersecurity protection so that traffic safety could be improved by communication of potential risks between vehicles and between vehicle and infrastructure.

The FCC still proposes to designate the upper portion of the remaining spectrum for cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology applications, the newest iteration of vehicle communications. C-V2X shows much more promise to support a connected vehicle ecosystem that provides direct 5G communications between vehicles, between vehicles and infrastructure, between vehicles and other road users and between vehicles and cellular communications providers’ mobile broadband networks.

What’s the Difference Between DSRC and 5G?

Both DRSC and 5G provide the performance, speed and latency required for successful communication between connected automated vehicles (CAVs) and their environment, but they cannot use the same band and require…

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