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Clash of connected cars: LTE V2X takes a stand against DSRC

Posted: 19 Oct 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Huawei  Qualcomm  LTE  V2V  DSRC 

Competition is generally seen as positive, especially in this industry where every company is always pulling out all the stops to outdo the competition. In particular, Huawei and Qualcomm focusing their efforts on infiltrating the promising vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure communication market, often collectively titled V2X, by proposing an LTE standard called "LTE V2X."

The move is at odds with incumbent automotive technology suppliers who have been working more than a decade to develop and test, and finally implement, a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology designed for V2V, V2I communications.

DSRC, based on the IEEE 802.11p standard, uses a dedicated wireless frequency, 75MHz of spectrum in the 5.9GHz band, allocated by the Federal Communications Commission in 1999 specifically for intelligent transportation systems.

Meanwhile, proponents of LTE V2X are pitching LTE-based cellular network infrastructure as the basis of V2X. They claim that LTE Direct (LTE-D), also known as LTE Device-to-Device (D2D), offers a good foundation for LTE V2X development. LTE-D is said to enable discovery of thousands of devices and their services within 500m, thus allowing two or more proximal LTE-D devices to communicate within the network.

The result of these developments is a connected-car clash between the DSRC faction, and others jockeying for a foothold in the automotive industry in the anticipation of the emerging 5G cellular network standard. Cellular players are counting on 5G to offer native support for automotive-related communications.

As EE Times talked to several automotive technology vendors during the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) World Congress in Bordeaux, many were visibly unhappy about last-minute efforts by Huawei and Qualcomm to push an alternative V2X communication technology.

Lars Reger, CTO of NXP's automotive business unit, believes DSRC has come a long way. The technology, which has cleared a number of field tests over the years, is about to go inside new connected cars. Noting that LTE V2X is still in development, Reger estimated substantial delays before the new standard is finished, tested and accepted by the automotive industry.

LTE-V2X Study Item

Huawei's timeline shows the LTE-V2X Study Item completing its work by the end of this year. The LTE-V2X Work Item begins in 2016. (Source: Huawei)

Driven by whom?

So, here's the question. Do carmakers now see something wrong with designing DSRC into their cars, after mulling it over and dragging their heels for more than 15 years?

When EE Times asked Huawei if carmakers have asked them to develop an alternative V2X technology, Jiansong Gan, technical director, connected car at Huawei, paused a second and said, "That's a good question."

But he pointed out that the advantage of promoting LTE-based V2X is that a "LTE cellular network infrastructure already exists." There is no need to build a V2X infrastructure afresh to support DSRC.

Gan also cited the potential interference issues of 5.8GHz DSRC in China and explained, "In China, we need a different V2X solution." The Chinese Communication Standards Association (CCSA) launched a Work Item for LTE-based V2X in China.

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