Qualcomm joins ‘Towards 5G’ to help make cars communicate

highway cars - qualcomm c-v2x

As part of its quest to lead 5G development, Qualcomm has joined ‘Towards 5G,’ an initiative to apply next generation wireless solutions to the issue of the connected car.

Connected and self-driving cars are one of the most cited reasons for the necessity of 5G. The low latency of a 5G network (meaning how long it takes data to travel between its source and destination) is critical for the safety and automation features that are expected to arrive in future tech-enhanced vehicles. For instance, if a driver is heading around a blind curve where a car has broken down, that information needs to be relayed with as little lag as possible.

Additionally, the information needs to be relayed reliably, which taps into another aspiration of 5G — the aim for broader coverage through the combined use of a wide variety of licensed and unlicensed bands.

Partnered to push 5G automotive

Qualcomm joins Stockholm-based telecommunications equipment and services company Ericsson, European network operator Orange and automotive company PSA Group, which owns brands such as Peugeot and Citroen.

Along with the announcement that Qualcomm has joined the group, its three new partners revealed results from its first tests of cellular vehicle-to-x applications. Vehicle-to-x or V2X refers to the line of communication between a car and another thing — such as vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-pedestrian.

In the tests, Towards 5G deployed solutions that would allow drivers to “see through” other connected vehicles in front of them (in order to make more informed decisions about passing, for example) and a warning for when emergency vehicles are approaching.

Pilot results and future ventures

The group reports that “advanced network features” implemented on its new Radio Access Network (RAN) provided an average 17ms latency for vehicle-to-network-to-vehicle transmissions, with the vehicles receiving 100Mbps speeds on the 2.6GHz frequency band.

Previous to this announcement, PSA Group recently revealed it plans to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 Automotive chip in its next-generation vehicles.

Qualcomm has also announced a partnership with LG to test and promote adoption of cellular V2X communications in vehicles, with the hopes of showcasing trial results in the first half of 2018.

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