Integrated 5G tech to make cars smarter and driving safer

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 19 Nov 2019

As cars transform into computers on wheels, fifth-generation wireless or 5G, the latest iteration of cellular technology, has the potential to benefit the automotive industry. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently demonstrated new technology that harnesses 5G extensively.  

When designing the Uconnect ecosystem, FCA wanted to be able to integrate future innovations - in particular the arrival of 5G. This integrated platform for connected vehicles has allowed it to create a global ‘ecosystem’ so that the driving experience can be improved both inside and outside the vehicle. 5G is more than an innovative technical step forward: it is a conceptual revolution of car connectivity.

Earlier this month, at the 5GAA World Conference and Demonstration in Turin, FCA displayed how connected vehicles can both communicate with the cloud and each other to improve driving safety and quality. The emergence of 5G technology will introduce a new wave of high speed and low latency communication. The carmaker displayed five new types of technology that take advantage of these benefits: Forward Collision Warning, Urban Geo-referenced Alert, Stationary Vehicle Warning, Emergency Electronic Brake Light warning and See Through. 

"The FCA Uconnect ecosystem will use in future the 5G technology, in more ways than were displayed at the event in Turin, said Gilberto Ceresa, Head of Global Connectivity Team and CIO EMEA & LATAM of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. "We believe that 5G will help transform the mobility of the future while also revolutionising the way in which cars are perceived today. When 5G will become a global standard and the infrastructure will be developed alongside, both manufacturers and consumers can take advantage of its multitude of possibilities."

FCA and Harman (Samsung) showcased two demonstrations of C-V2V (Cellular Vehicle to Vehicle) technology: the Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA). The demonstration involved the Maserati Levante and Quattroporte that anonymously communicated each other basic information such as their position and relative direction thanks to a direct radio link. FCW detects possible frontal collisions and warns the driver accordingly. Through the intercommunication of sensor data between nearby connected cars, this technology will be able to reduce the risk of accidents such as at road intersections. IMA helps the driver at cross junctions so that possible lateral collisions are avoided. 

The new 5G Architecture will also allow drivers to be warned in advance of any critical events as well as make city-driving a more pleasurable experience. The aim of the Urban Geo-referenced Alert, a joint venture by TIM, FCA, Links, City of Turin with 5T, and Politecnico di Torino, is to alert drivers of possible dangers and hazards such as roadworks, dynamic speed limits and traffic jams. A standard geo-referenced warning message is first collected by Politecnico di Torino and Links, thanks to the Torino Digital Mobility Platform which monitors in real time the road situation, and then transmitted via the TIM 5G AMQP Cloud Broker. Only vehicles that require this information will be notified and it will be displayed in an FCA vehicle through the on-board user interface so that the driver may act accordingly. The demonstration proved that the TIM 5G network is suitable to aid the development of smart road services for connected cars. This scheme is also compliant with industry standards and therefore can be applied in other locations covered with mobile networks. 

The third demonstration showcased the Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology. Through this technology vehicles can communicate with each other, with other road users and with the infrastructure. Even in areas without mobile network coverage, C-V2X communication allows an exchange of time sensitive and safety critical information. FCA, alongside Continental and Qualcomm, displayed two uses of this aforementioned technology with the help of two Jeep Renegades. 

The Stationary Vehicle Warning (SVW) is activated when the hazard lights are turned on. A message is broadcasted to all nearby vehicles so that approaching vehicles can be notified even if the hazard is not yet visible. In the event of a vehicle suddenly braking, the Emergency Electronic Brake Light warning (EEBL) sends a warning to all nearby vehicles so that they are alerted to the potentially dangerous situation. 

Finally, Vodafone, FCA, Vodafone #automotive, Marelli and Altran revealed the 'See Through' that uses C-V2V communication to exchange videos in real time between vehicles. As a result, the driver's visual range is extended even in situations with limited visibility. This technology aims to prevent accidents, especially when vehicles are performing overtaking manoeuvres. Two Jeep Renegades were involved in the demonstration and they were connected to each other through a 5G router provided by Marelli. Each vehicle also had high frame-rate cameras that were provided by Marelli Motorsport. A real time tracking system and a space mapping algorithm of the vehicles, specifically developed by Vodafone #automotive, allow Vodafone's Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) to dynamically manage and route the video flows on the basis of the vehicles' reciprocal positions and to ensure minimal end-to-end latency in the interest of driver's safety. Vodafone 5G ultra-low latency and high reliability are paramount to ensure the flow and synchronism of the real-time video exchange between vehicles, also under high traffic and cell saturation conditions.