The V2X Standards Faceoff


Many new cars on the market today sport some form of advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS). Leveraging features like backup cameras, automatic braking, lane keeping and blind-spot detection, these systems have proven their ability to significantly enhance driving safety. To take this automotive technology to the next logical level, however, carmakers must add wireless communications. The problem is that the industry cannot agree on a single radio frequency standard to bring the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication network to life.

Until recently, the industry and government seemed poised to adopt dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), a technology based on 802.11p, a variant of the Wi-Fi standard. The rise of a cellular technology called C-V2X, however, has caused a pause to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each option before settling on a single wireless standard.

What Is Involved in V2X?

To appreciate the magnitude of the challenge of choosing between the two, consider what V2X is and what the selected communications standard will require.

DSRC aims to provide a dedicated secure safety channel for secure communication of safety messages and transportation data in real time. An example of this technology can be seen in NXP Semiconductors’ next-generation RoadLINK, the SAF5400. Images courtesy of NXP Semiconductors.

Essentially, V2X allows vehicles to communicate with all elements of the traffic system around them. This includes other vehicles, pedestrians, associated cloud servers and components of the highway system. The latter category encompasses traffic cameras and lights, lane markers, streetlights and parking meters, for example. When fully implemented, V2X connectivity promises to enable the sharing of a broad spectrum of information, ranging from speed, direction of travel and braking and turning status to road conditions, weather and traffic status.

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