Audi of America, American Tower Corporation, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced a significant milestone in an initial deployment of cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication technology.
The Virginia C-V2X deployment is a result of the combined efforts of Audi of America, VDOT and Qualcomm Technologies, which was first announced earlier this year and is aimed toward improving work zone and vehicle safety for Virginia roadways, while expanding safety use cases to reduce the number of road hazards and fatalities.
The companies are developing new models of deployment with public and private sector involvement such that C-V2X technologies can be readily introduced to roadways across the globe. To reach this significant C-V2X milestone, the companies are working with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and V2X solutions provider Commsignia on the initial deployment, using the 5.9 GHz wireless communications band that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed to allocate for C-V2X enhanced surface transportation safety.
The C-V2X implementation in Virginia provides the organizations with an opportunity to focus on benefits and models of deployment for two specific use cases where C-V2X will play an integral role – work zones and roadside worker safety and traffic signal information. While there are many more applications that can emerge from a C-V2X deployment, these are particularly compelling to project stakeholders, and set the stage for potential broad deployment.
Work Zone and vulnerable road user use case
Work zone roadside safety messages not only offer a greater awareness for drivers, who can receive messages through low-latency direct communications, but for vulnerable roadside and maintenance personnel who can also receive messages and warnings that a vehicle is approaching using a C-V2X-enabled vest. With the Virginia deployment, the organizations will have roadside personnel utilizing vests equipped with C-V2X technology, as well as Audi Q8 test vehicles specially equipped with a Qualcomm® C-V2X-based platform, to deliver warnings and alerts to drivers and personnel about each other’s presence.
Traffic signal information use case
Designed to improve traffic safety and efficiency, VDOT’s signal controllers are broadcasting signal status information through roadside infrastructure provided by Commsignia. The roadside infrastructure is transmitting messages using C-V2X to the Audi Q8 SUVs that supplement Audi’s Traffic Light Information (TLI) service, available to customers today, that provides drivers a countdown to the green light using the cellular network, additional low-latency C-V2X messages and audible alerts enhance traffic signal information to also warn of an impending red-light violation.
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American Tower Corporation is providing a neutral host model to drive value to multiple public and private stakeholders, helping to deliver safety and mobility services with C-V2X. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has been contracted to develop the software and systems necessary to support the primary use cases defined for the initial deployment, with Commsignia providing the roadside units (RSUs) and intelligent transportation systems ITS stack for both the roadside and onboard units.
“We expect neutral host models and shared RSU enhanced infrastructure to play a key role in the deployment of C-V2X in the Virginia Connected Corridors, a connected vehicle environment in Northern Virginia,” said Ed Knapp, CTO, American Tower. “We are pleased to be working with industry-leading organizations to identify ways to accelerate C-V2X technology adoption and 5G edge infrastructure at scale. Widespread adoption will deliver on the vision of intelligent roadways and intersections for enhanced safety and connectivity while also improving the environment and overall quality of life.”
“The deployment of C-V2X on the Virginia Smart Road Corridor allows a new generation of vehicles capable of communicating not just through cellular towers but also directly with roadside infrastructure and vulnerable road users,” said Pom Malhotra, director, Connected Services, Audi of America. “Today’s milestone will allow Audi to accelerate the deployment of innovative use cases that have the potential to increase driver confidence on the road by providing warning – and in the future, take autonomous action – when sensing an impending collision or even a traffic rule violation.”
“We are proud of the work we’ve done with Audi of America, VDOT, American Tower Corporation, VTTI and Commsignia to not only showcase momentum and value of C-V2X to communities and stakeholders, but to also innovate on deployments such as these to continue opening paths to widespread adoption,” said Jim Misener, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The Virginia deployment is a significant milestone, serving as a successful proof point showing public and private organizations working together to apply C-V2X to achieve transformative safety and mobility benefit.”
“VDOT is excited to support the further exploration of C-V2X technology, deployed both in vehicles and in infrastructure,” said Cathy McGhee, Virginia’s Director of Transportation Research and Innovation. “We continually seek opportunities to apply technology in ways that provide safety and mobility benefits for Virginia roadway users and joint efforts like this are incredibly valuable.”
C-V2X is designed to offer vehicles low-latency direct communications between other vehicles, roadside infrastructure and vulnerable road users without the involvement of a cellular network, or cellular network subscription, by operating in the designated 5.9 GHz spectrum. C-V2X direct communications is synergistic with cellular network communications in both the vehicle and along the roadside, and has already been integrated into Qualcomm Technologies’ newest 4G and 5G automotive platforms for next generation telematics that can accelerate the technology adoption with the support of new models of roadside infrastructure deployments. This alignment of C-V2X with the established automotive design cycle and cellular ecosystem brings great promise for the future. Additionally, with its strong evolution to be forward compatible, the technology offers richer and differentiated experiences to support expanding the world of 5G.