The number of connected cars on the road is growing fast. Some use cases for connected vehicles depend on cellular connectivity, but many do not. Telcos need to focus on use cases where they add value to the ecosystem.
Connected cars are moving fast
Over the past two decades, vehicles have been making increasing use of cellular connectivity for a variety of purposes from pay-as-you-drive insurance and rentals to remote (un)locking and automated emergency calls. Now automobiles are beginning to harness C-V2X – versions of LTE and 5G specifically designed to meet the needs of connected cars.
This report outlines the growing momentum behind V2X connectivity, the various connectivity options and the strategies of leading connected car makers, before providing some forecasts for the growth in connected vehicles between now and 2028. It then considers many of the key use cases, categorising them according to how frequently the vehicle needs to obtain new data from external sources. Finally, the report profiles the efforts of several telcos that have achieved scale in this market, before drawing some conclusions.
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Who is driving the connected car market?
C-V2X connectivity is now being built into vehicles by various Chinese automakers, as well as GM, Ford and Audi, according to the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), which is a global, cross-industry organisation representing companies from the automotive, technology, and telecommunications sectors.
The 5GAA has described 2023 as “a pivotal year for V2X deployment”, partly because the technology is increasingly being standardised and partly because of the regulatory drivers discussed later in this section.
While cellular connectivity is already used by tens of millions of vehicles worldwide, the deployment of C-V2X is still very nascent.
Direct mode C-V2X clearly depends on the deployment of 5.9GHz modems inside vehicles and in roadside units and other public infrastructure. The latter will need to be densely deployed, as the range of each unit could drop to around 100 metres when buildings are in the way. These roadside units typically employ either an Ethernet cable or a wireless link for backhaul.
As the business case rests primarily on a reduction in congestion and accidents, the rollout of this infrastructure is likely to be funded primarily by general taxation and/or road tolls. Therefore, much of the direct mode infrastructure will probably be deployed and controlled by municipalities and road operators, but this responsibility could be outsourced to telcos. In China, where the government retains close control over both the telecoms and transport sectors, this infrastructure is already widely deployed in some cities.
Increasingly sophisticated roadside units are also becoming available in the rest of the world from specialist companies, such as Applied Information, Askey, Commsignia, Harman Automotive (part of Samsung) and Yunex Traffic. Other vendors supplying road-side unit (RSU) hardware – or software for inclusion on third-party hardware – include Cohda Wireless, Capgemini, Kapsch TrafficCom, Grand-Tek and others. Chinese telecoms equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE had solutions listed by 5GAA in a 2021 list of RSU suppliers, but Ericsson and Nokia did not, and they may choose to license products from other vendors.
In May 2022, Yunex Traffic, for example, launched the RSU2X, which can use DSRC or C-V2X signals to transmit speed limits, red light notices and wrong-way warnings to the onboard units in automakers’ 2023 model vehicles. The RSU2X can also capture the car’s speed, direction, and location for use by connected safety systems. Yunex says the unit is capable of handling 4,000 message verifications and 130 message signature operations per second. The RSU2X has four times the computing power of Yunex’s previous model.
Yunex Traffic claims its new RSU2X can handle 4,000 messages per second
Source: Yunex Traffic
Some of the latest roadside units, such as Harman Automotive’s Savari StreetWAVE, include support for 5G, as well as C-V2X and DSRC (5.855 to 5.925GHz), Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN.
C-V2X is also being integrated into new vehicles. For example, in September 2022, Autotalks, a fabless semiconductor company based in Israel, said two Chinese automakers had ordered its V2X communication solutions. In the press release, Autotalks said the first V2X-enabled car brand will be launched in China in the second half of 2023, while the other automaker will roll out the V2X-enabled car in both China and Europe starting in early 2024.
“China’s V2X market continues gearing up towards implementation of the government’s ambitious intelligent transportation strategy,” Autotalks said at the time. “All leading automakers, local and global, are expected to start massive deployment of V2X technology in China in the coming years. The market is moving towards massive adoption of V2X as most OEMs are preparing to launch V2X-powered vehicles by 2025.”
Table of contents
- Executive Summary
- The road to automated driving
- Introduction: V2X market momentum
- Who is driving the market?
- Regulatory moves on both sides of the Atlantic
- V2X connectivity options
- History and background to automotive connectivity
- Dedicated and localised V2X networks
- National and wide-area V2X
- How much data traffic can be expected?
- The role of private/non-public mobile networks
- Spectrum considerations
- Summary of the connectivity options
- Automakers’ adoption of connectivity
- Ford aims to monetise connectivity
- BMW continues to champion connectivity
- Audi looks to harness 5G
- Baidu explores V2X for self-driving
- How many connected vehicles are there?
- SK Telecom looks skyward
- Connected vehicle use cases
- Batch-based use cases
- Pulse use cases
- High-frequency use cases
- Real-time applications
- Reducing the need for onboard compute
- Avoiding collisions
- Telcos connecting vehicles at scale
- Vodafone Automotive: 5,000 alerts a day
- AT&T: Serving more than 60 million vehicles
- Mobile: Delivering the internet of vehicles
- Transport and logistics: The role of private 4G/5G
- How telcos can provide a tonic for transport
- A new role for telcos in smart cities
- Can telcos help cities combat congestion?
- Uber and Tesla: What telcos should do
- Autonomous cars: Where’s the money for telcos?