The Colorado Department of Transportation is working with Ford Motor Co., Panasonic, and Qualcomm Technologies to ease traffic on select roadways in Colorado. The companies will use Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology first in Panasonic’s CityNow headquarters located east of Denver and then in select areas along a very traffic-intensive corridor used by travelers to get to popular mountain destinations.
C-V2X is a 3GPP-based cellular standard that is intended to help vehicles by using a cellular-like network to perform a variety of tasks including delivering real-time traffic reports, diagnostics, and emergency calls.
The C-V2X deployment will be used in conjunction with Kapsch TrafficCom, which will provide roadside units, and with Ficosa, which will provide onboard units. CDOT will equip its existing fleet of Ford utility vehicles with C-V2X devices using Ficosa’s CarCom platform to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications. Panasonic will also collect the data and provide CDOT roadway operators with situational awareness, weather information, and traffic updates. In addition, it will send critical safety information directly to the vehicles.
Although C-V2X has cellular in its name, it isn’t using a traditional operator-run cellular network. “The only thing cellular is that it uses the same foundational technologies,” explained Nakul Duggal, Qualcomm’s VP of product management for automotive. “But in terms of usage it does not require any operator involvement because it’s a peer-to-peer technology.”
It will use the 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum, which is unlicensed and is designed to offer low-latency V2V, V2I, and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communications. Field tests have shown that C-V2X can get twice the range and better reliability than 802.11p radio technology, Duggal said.
Michael Lewis, executive director of CDOT, said in a statement that Colorado is focused on rapidly deploying connected vehicle technology and is encouraged by the progress of C-V2X.
C-V2X is designed to be compatible with 5G networks once they are deployed. Duggal said that by the time 3GPP Release 16 is finished C-V2X will have more features. Release 16 will include a full set of specifications for 5G.
Duggal added that Phase 1 of the Colorado C-V2X deployment will begin this month but the companies involved in the consortium hope to cover the entire state. “We want to look at how rapidly it can evolve,” he said.
C-V2X has been tested by Qualcomm and a number of other companies but this is the first U.S. deployment and is an extension of a previously announced partnership between Panasonic and CDOT. That partnership includes a $72 million autonomous vehicle project and is part of CityNow, a “smart city” deployment near Denver. On this 400-acre swath of empty land near the Denver International Airport, Panasonic has installed free WiFi, LED street lights, pollution sensors, a solar-powered microgrid, and security cameras.