Software based test system will help develop 5G C-V2X cellular communication systems for autonomous cars.
Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and those that haven’t attained full autonomy but nonetheless benefit from advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) as a safety feature are wholly reliant on the full availability of high speed, low latency communications, an area of technology that could stall CAV development if not rigorously developed and tested.
One of the main enabling communications technologies for CAV development is 5G, which provides the backbone for Cellular V2x (C-V2x). V2x is the catch-all term that means vehicle-to-anything communications (Vehicle to Vehicle – V2V and Vehicle to Infrastructure – V2I).
Now, National Instruments (NI) has announced the SEA C-V2X Open Loop Test System, which makes use of 5G wireless cellular technology to provide high bandwidth and low latency communication for V2x communications.
Software Defined Testing
NI entered into this collaboration with SEA to help maximise the full potential of connected and intelligent mobility by providing a software-defined approach to help automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers validate the safety and efficiency of the cars. As the 3GPP standards evolve, including 5G NR (New Radio) capability with 3GPP Release 16 scheduled for 2020, a software-defined platform provides OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers the flexibility to adapt to the latest technology with minimum hardware and software changes.
Using cellular technology for physical layer communication, C-V2X benefits from considerable investments in cellular communication, including 5G, and a vast network of technology. For this to work, contributors will need to standardise on communication, understand how systems from multiple vendors interact and characterise behaviour in real-world scenarios. Eventually, 5G is expected to provide increased throughput and lower latency for autonomous vehicle communications, downloading high-definition maps, and advanced pedestrian interactions. With most projects still in the early stages of evaluation and standards still materialising, automotive OEMs, automotive suppliers and academic researchers are investing in the tools that will adapt as C-V2X technology evolves.
Lab performance validation
According to Gerd Schmitz, CEO of SEA, research teams need to quickly understand the functionality and validate performance in a reliable and repeatable environment.
“Road tests are valuable. However, proving performance in the lab helps teams iterate faster and have higher confidence in the device operation under a broader set of scenarios, including hard-to-reproduce corner cases.”
By building on the NI platform, SEA was able to accelerate its development by focusing on the critical V2X IP and the drive scenarios in which these systems will operate.
“This has enabled us to release C-V2X tools early in the design cycle to help research teams have higher confidence in their device performance and make the right recommendations to their internal customers,” continues Schmitz.
The new C-V2X system combines software from SEA with NI software defined radio (SDR) hardware to send real signals to RF and GNSS channels on C-V2X controllers and telematics control units. By articulating the C-V2X and GNSS signals to the C-V2X controller, the new C-V2X system can simulate real signals from an emergency brake warning or a traffic light controlled junction and help engineers characterise device performance in the lab. The new C-V2X system includes pre-compiled drive scenarios like left turn assist, emergency brake warning and traffic jam warning to accelerate time to first measurement.
With changing standards and new business models, engineers developing the next generation of mobility must balance scalability and time to market. The C-V2X system can help demonstrate early success and help development teams adapt to market requirements.