Test program shows cellular V2X outperforms DSRC

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As regulators worldwide look into future rules for connected vehicles, global cross-industry organization the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) has been conducting tests to compare the performance of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and cellular technologies.

The 5GAA has been comparing 802.11p/DSRC (known in Europe as ITS-G5) and Cellular V2X PC5 radio technologies in delivering V2V (Vehicle-To-Vehicle) safety messages. The test results show that Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) direct communications technology, consistently, and in many cases overwhelmingly, outperforms 802.11p/DSRC. With a natural evolution path toward the low latency and high-bandwidth benefits of 5G NR, C-V2X also demonstrated superior performance in several areas, including:

Enhanced reliability over extended communications range; Better non-line-of-sight performance; Greater resiliency to interference, such as that arising from other devices. These performance advantages are particularly important in the most difficult environments, such as non-line-of-sight scenarios (e.g., around a corner, highway queue-forming, and so on) where resident onboard sensors and radars have certain limitations.

Reliable and timely radio performance is a crucial requirement that all those with a stake in transport safety depend on to deliver critical safety applications. The V2V radio performance tests were conducted by 5GAA members over a period spanning six months, from March to September, and compared 5.9GHz DSRC radio technology with the current C-V2X realization based on LTE-V2X (3GPP Release 14). The design and execution of each experiment was set up to ensure that environmental conditions, radio frequency parameters, system integration details and physical structures were consistent when comparing 802.11p/DSRC and C-V2X direct communications.

The 5GAA testing program featured both laboratory and proving ground trials using a Ford Fusion vehicle equipped with Savari MobiWAVE MW1000 DSRC and Qualcomm Roadrunner C-V2X On-Board Units (OBUs). Such test procedures are a prerequisite for comparing available radio technologies, and the results according to the 5GAA trials are very clear: C-V2X direct communications (PC5) performs better. C-V2X is commercially available and reuses the decades-long investment into protocols and upper layer applications to improve safety, deliver traffic efficiency and support automated driving.

C-V2X combines two types of communication on a single technology platform: a direct short-range mode operating over the ITS spectrum and not requiring any network coverage or subscription; and a long-range mode using traditional cellular networks operating over mobile network operator licensed spectrum. The 5GAA’s tests were conducted using only the C-V2X direct short-range communication mode without any network involvement. The Association notes that C-V2X will evolve into 5G-V2X to deliver additional capabilities and support new services.

“These test results demonstrate that C-V2X direct communications is today’s most cutting-edge technology for connected and automated driving, and the best way to finally deliver upon safety and traffic efficiency,” said Maxime Flament, the 5GAA’s CTO. “Hence why C-V2X ecosystem is growing so rapidly – the 5G Automotive Association now has more than 100 members, all of whom believe in C-V2X as the future of mobility.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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