ABI Research study says DSRC technology is more cost-effective than cellular V2X systems


A new study by industry analysts ABI Research says the widespread implementation of DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) technology will be more cost effective than using cellular systems for V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications.

There have been extensive discussions within the automotive and transportation industries comparing the incumbent DSRC-based V2X and the newcomer alternative, C-V2X (cellular V2X). Even though the cost of implementing the technology is a main parameter for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, the price of the two technologies has never been compared.

New analysis of V2X communications systems conducted by ABI Research finds that the cost of implementing DSRC above cellular communications is expected to be US$13.50 to US$15 lower per Telematics Control Unit (TCU) than implementing a C-V2X solution.

The global transportation sector has been involved in much debate comparing DSRC and C-V2X as technology alternatives for enabling V2X in vehicles in order to prevent accidents. Up until now, the added cost of V2X, which constitutes a significant parameter, was hardly compared between DSRC and C-V2X. As vehicle manufacturers are increasingly integrating V2X in TCUs, the ABI researchers studied and analyzed the cost of adding V2X to the TCU using both technologies.

“We estimate that in the initial years of deployment, C-V2X plus LTE will carry a system cost between US$13.50 and US$15 higher than DSRC plus LTE,” explained James Hodgson, ABI’s senior analyst for smart mobility and automotive research. “DSRC, being the longer established and incumbent technology, has cost advantages typically associated with deployments in the field, and a more competitive ecosystem.”

ABI’s new cost analysis indicates that C-V2X’s complexity and challenging requirements add cost over DSRC, when taking into account that V2X is safety-critical technology. The key architectural differences that impact on cost according to the report are: LTE ruggedization and automotive qualification, the need for high accuracy clock source, the cellular royalty scheme, and the use of wi-fi which is bundled with DSRC for free (DSRC is part of the wi-fi standards family).

In conclusion, the report says that since both DSRC and 4G cellular are available technologies with mature products currently on the market, the cost analyses strengthen the industry view that the hybrid model of DSRC plus cellular is not only simpler to design and deploy, but is more affordable as well.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).