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AT&T, Ford, Nokia and Qualcomm Launch Cellular-V2X Connected Car Trials

By Ken Briodagh November 01, 2017

AT&T, Ford, Nokia, and Qualcomm Technologies reportedly are helping to accelerate the development of connected cars with the first announced Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) trials in the U.S.  Testing is planned for the San Diego Regional Proving Ground with the support of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), Caltrans, the City of Chula Vista, and intelligent transportation solutions (ITS) provider McCain.

“Leveraging the evolution of embedded cellular technologies for V2X communications holds great potential to advance safety benefits to all road users,” said Cameron Coursey, VP, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “Working with industry leaders, such as Ford, Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies, and state and local government agencies, we will together lead the way to safer, more secure, cost-effective, and efficient next-generation solutions.”

The goal of the trials, the companies said, is to demonstrate the potential of C-V2X technologies, including support for improved automotive safety, automated driving, and traffic efficiency. The trials will also be aimed at demonstrating to automakers and road operators the anticipated cost-efficient benefits associated with embedded cellular technology in vehicles and synergies between the deployment of cellular base stations and roadside infrastructure. The initial testing phase is expected to begin later this year. 

“The advancement of cellular technology for C-V2X applications is very encouraging,” said Don Butler, executive director, connected vehicle and services, Ford Motor Company. “This technology promises to meet, and in some cases, exceed the performance requirements of vehicle communication being proposed by relevant government agencies while leveraging existing in-vehicle connectivity frameworks. C-V2X provides a reassuring path to technology advancements necessary to support emerging developments in autonomy, automated driving, and mobility. We are keen to investigate all aspects of this opportunity and support cross industry efforts that make that possible.”

Complementary to other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) sensors, such as cameras, radar, and LIDAR, C-V2X technology is designed to support 360-degree non-line-of-sight (NLOS) awareness, and is designed to extend a vehicle's ability to see, hear, and understand the environment down the road, at blind intersections, or in bad weather conditions.

For this trial, C-V2X platforms are expected to be installed in Ford vehicles using the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X solution to facilitate direct communications, and are complemented by AT&T's 4G LTE network communications and ITS platform that takes advantage of wireless base stations and multi-access edge computing technology from Nokia. For the new communication technologies being deployed, McCain will help facilitate the effective integration with existing and emerging traffic signal control infrastructure.

“LTE and 5G technologies have the potential to dramatically transform our lives, and none more so than in transportation,” said Thorsten Robrecht, head of vertical network slices, Nokia. “Nokia has a keen interest in creating safe, efficient, and dynamic operating environments for autonomous vehicles, and we have gained much experience from our European projects over the last few years. As such, we are extremely excited to be involved in this project with AT&T, Ford, and Qualcomm Technologies, taking meaningful steps to evaluate what this technology will be able to deliver.”

Testing will support direct C-V2X communications operating in the 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum to explore the safety enhancements of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) use cases, including do not pass warning, intersection movement assist, and left turn assist, to name a few. The trials will also support advanced vehicle communication capabilities for improved traffic efficiencies, such as real-time mapping updates and event notifications relayed using AT&T's cellular network and Nokia Cloud Infrastructure.

“Caltrans has been fully engaged in autonomous and connected vehicle research and testing in recent years,” said Malcolm Dougherty, director, Caltrans. “We are proud to join with SANDAG, the City of Chula Vista, public and private sector partners to further the pursuit of innovative technologies on our roadways to improve safety and mobility.”

With decades-long experience in automated vehicle testing, advanced features in regional transportation networks, and a global reputation as a high-tech hub for research and wireless innovation, the San Diego region was designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of ten automated vehicle proving grounds in the U.S. earlier this year.

“The knowledge and partnerships we gain from being a designated proving ground will help us advance innovation, enhance mobility, and improve our transportation systems,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.

“The San Diego Regional Proving Ground's partnership between SANDAG, Caltrans, and the City of Chula Vista positions us as leaders in the development and deployment of new technology, allowing our region to realize benefits in mobility, safety, and economic development. The collaboration this partnership demonstrates between government agencies and the private sector significantly reduces deployment costs while accelerating the proliferation of the infrastructure necessary for the next generation of mobility technology,” said Ron Roberts, Chair and County Supervisor, SANDAG. “Government will benefit from these new C-V2X roadside units integrated with cellular infrastructure, and San Diego is perfectly situated to provide a platform for new business models that can lead to safer roadways and more efficient operations.”


Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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