NI unveils new software-defined C-V2X solution

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NI has unveiled the S.E.A. C-V2X Open Loop Test System, leveraging 5G wireless cellular technology to provide high bandwidth and low latency communication for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications.

NI is collaborating with S.E.A., an NI Alliance Partner, to maximise the potential of connected and intelligent mobility by providing a software-defined approach to help automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers validate the safety and efficiency of their vehicles.

As the 3GPP standards evolve, including 5G NR capability with 3GPP Release 16 scheduled for 2020, a software-defined platform provides OEMs and their suppliers with the flexibility to adapt to the latest technology with minimum hardware and software changes.

In a 2016 study, NHTSA estimated that safety applications enabled by V2V and V2I could eliminate or mitigate the severity of up to 80 percent of non-impaired crashes. By communicating intent and gathering data from other cars about their surroundings, V2X helps improve reaction time and ease decision making in vehicle interactions like cross-traffic left turns and merging into traffic.

Using cellular technology for physical layer communication, C-V2X benefits from considerable investments in cellular communication, including 5G, and a vast ecosystem of technology. For this technology to work, contributors will need to standardise on communication, understand how systems from multiple vendors interact and characterise behaviour in real-world scenarios. Eventually, 5G is expected to provide increased throughput and lower latency for autonomous vehicle communications, downloading high-definition maps, and advanced pedestrian interactions. With most projects still in the early stages of evaluation and standards still materialising, automotive OEMs, automotive suppliers and academic researchers are investing in the tools that will adapt as C-V2X technology evolves.

“Vehicles equipped with V2X technology can give drivers and autonomous systems more time to react to dangerous situations,” explained Gerd Schmitz, PhD, CEO of S.E.A. Datentechnik. “With S.E.A.’s long history of bringing new technologies to market, we recognised that research teams need to quickly understand the functionality and validate performance in a reliable and repeatable environment. Road tests are valuable, however, proving performance in the lab helps teams iterate faster and have higher confidence in the device operation under a broader set of scenarios, including hard-to-reproduce corner cases.

“By building on the NI platform, we have been able to accelerate our development by focusing on the critical V2X IP and the drive scenarios in which these systems will operate. This has enabled us to release C-V2X tools early in the design cycle to help research teams have higher confidence in their device performance and make the right recommendations to their internal customers.”

The new C-V2X solution combines software from NI Alliance Partner, S.E.A, with NI software defined radio (SDR) hardware to send real signals to RF and GNSS channels on C-V2X controllers and telematics control units.

By articulating the C-V2X and GNSS signals to the C-V2X controller, the C-V2X solution can simulate real signals from an emergency brake warning or four-way stop and help engineers characterise device performance in the lab. The solution includes pre-compiled drive scenarios like left turn assist, emergency brake warning and traffic jam warning to accelerate time to first measurement.

S.E.A. also provides the following software add-ons:

  • Congestion Simulation software emulates the surrounding environment, with up to several hundred cars, to increase the test coverage
  • Channel emulation software emulates the physical distortion of radio waves to understand the signal propagation

In addition, these systems can be augmented with calibrated RF measurements using the NI Vector Signal Transceiver for characterisation and compliance.

The S.E.A. C-V2X Open Loop Test System helps V2X research teams quickly develop systems, scaling from simple V2X replay test (open loop), or functional test to autonomous HIL test systems with multiple sensor target simulators, GNSS RF, scenario simulation and in-the-loop model integration of user-defined models. With changing standards and new business models, engineers developing the next generation of mobility must balance scalability and time to market.

The C-V2X solution provides both a higher level starting point to help demonstrate early success and the flexibility of the NI platform to help ensure that these teams can adapt to market requirements.