A Brief History of V2X and will Software Take the Lead?

Driving the Future

V2X may sound like a term borrowed from a sci-fi blockbuster but it represents a contemporary reality rather than a distant concept. Currently at the forefront of efforts to optimize transportation and enhance road safety – V2X, which stands for “Vehicle-to-Everything” – is a mission shared by governmental bodies, leading automotive manufacturers, cellular communication companies, and a spectrum of other players in mobility, product development, and services.

V2X, encapsulating a wide array of communication solutions, enables vehicles to converse with, well, everything in their surroundings. Picture cars sharing location, speed, and traffic conditions with each other, infrastructure, pedestrians, and cyclists – enhancing road safety, efficiency, and convenience. It relies on differing protocols like DSRC and C-V2X, which utilize unique methods for connectivity, the former employing Dedicated Short-Range Communications, while the latter uses cellular standards.

The Early Days: Pioneering V2X Communication

Cast your mind back to the late 1990s and early 2000s: the USA Federal Communications Commission allocated in 1999 a portion of the radio spectrum to intelligent transportation services to improve highway safety and efficiency.

Based at the time solely on DSRC, uses included traffic monitoring, travelers’ alerts, congestion detection, emergency vehicle signal preemption and more – encouraging automotive companies and researchers to explore the potential of wireless communication technologies to improve road safety and traffic management.

The concept gained traction due to advancements in WLAN – wireless local area networks – and its standardization by the American Society for Testing and Materials, which in a 2002 publication first used the term WAVE (Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments) for V2X communications. A notable project in the early 2000s was the US Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) program, which tested V2X technologies in real-world conditions.

Fast-forward a few years, with the emergence of 5G networks and the evolution of C-V2X, we now have the potential for even more sophisticated V2X applications, such as traffic signal prioritization and intersection management.

What Can V2X Do for You

Imagine a world with fewer collisions, safer pedestrians, quicker emergency responses, and efficient traffic management – all thanks to V2X technology. V2X leverages a variety of communication technologies, including cellular networks, dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), or the newer C-V2X standard, which uses cellular networks for communication.

Key applications that showcase the transformative power of V2X include:

  • Collision Avoidance: vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication enables vehicles to exchange critical data, including position, speed, and trajectory in real-time.
  • Pedestrian Safety: vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communication enables vehicles to detect and communicate with pedestrians, alerting drivers and providing warnings to both parties in case of potential hazards.
  • Emergency Services: V2X technology plays a crucial role in emergency situations. By facilitating communication between emergency vehicles and traffic infrastructure, such as traffic lights, V2X allows for faster response times and smoother emergency vehicle passage.
  • Traffic Management: vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication enables vehicles to receive real-time information from traffic management systems. This includes data from traffic signals, roadwork warnings, and other relevant sources, optimizing traffic flow and reducing congestion.

It’s important to note that V2X technology can be divided into two main categories: Hardware-based (HW-based)  and Software-based (SW-based). So, what’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Comparing Apples and Oranges: HW-based Vs. SW-based V2X

Hardware-based V2X solutions rely on dedicated hardware modules installed in vehicles to facilitate V2X communication. These modules consist of specialized chips, antennas, and other components designed to enable V2X functionality. Communication in hardware-based V2X primarily occurs through direct modes, utilizing protocols such as Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) or IEEE 802.11p/WAVE. These protocols enable short-range, low-latency communication between vehicles in close proximity.

However, one challenge with hardware-based V2X is the limited interoperability between different vehicle models and infrastructure providers. Since it requires specific hardware modules that comply with particular standards and protocols, compatibility may be restricted to vehicles equipped with the same V2X hardware. Also, while effective, HW-based V2X systems can be complex and costly to implement, and might require tailoring to certain vehicle models and infrastructure providers.

Software-based V2X revolutionizes V2X communication by leveraging software solutions and platforms. Unlike hardware-based approaches, it harnesses the capabilities of connected vehicles, onboard computers, and existing communication technologies like smartphones. This flexibility allows for seamless integration with different vehicle models and systems and mobile applications and adaptability to evolving currently deployed cellular communication infrastructures.

Its major advantages include a reduced implementation cycle due to compatibility with current mobile apps, and cost-effectiveness, needing no hardware and leveraging existing infrastructure and cellular networks (3.5G and higher). Over-the-air updates simplify upgrades and future-proof the system

When it comes to cloud integration, both HW and SW-based V2X solutions are relevant. This capability enables scalable services, real-time data sharing, and advanced analytics, facilitated by cloud platforms. While it benefits both, the lean nature of SW-based V2X aligns seamlessly with cloud integration, emphasizing its cost-effectiveness and ease of deployment.

Market Trends and the HW/SW Debate

In recent years, consortiums comprising global cellular providers, automotive OEMs or suppliers, and technology solution providers have emerged as a global trend. These consortiums aim to develop software-based solutions that can be swiftly deployed on existing infrastructure and mobile applications to enhance road safety for all users, including vulnerable road users.

The only player in the market, nowadays, to offer a commercially available Software-based V2X collision prediction and prevention solution is Eye-Net Mobile, which utilizes existing infrastructure and is accessible through an easy-to-use software add-on (SDK) for mobile application.

Eye-Net: Leading the SW-based V2X Revolution

Eye-Net’s software-based V2X solution delivers real-time pre-collision alerts to all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and micro-mobility riders. Eye-Zone™, tailored specifically for the automotive industry, seamlessly integrates with existing vehicle systems or mobile applications. Leveraging advanced algorithms, protocols, and system architecture, Eye-Net enhances accuracy, predicts collisions, reduces latency, and optimizes device resource consumption.

The key advantages of Eye-Net’s solution lie in its comprehensive approach to road safety, protecting vulnerable road users through smartphones, and its capability to predict and prevent collisions in “non-line of sight” scenarios. It complements existing ADAS technologies seamlessly and allows for fast user deployment by easily integrating with existing location-based mobile applications.

For more information about Eye-Net’s cost-effective, and GDPR compliant solution, please visit our websiteor reach out to Shuki Herzlinger, VP Business Development at Eye-Net: shukih@eyenet-mobile.com