How Can C-V2X Connectivity Drive Future Mobility

Dr. Chong Chee Chung

Vice President, ITS Architecting, ST Engineering

A profound transformation is underway as connected automakers and technology companies work together to lay the foundation for the next game-changing revolution in urban mobility.

Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) – an umbrella term that refers to a vehicle’s ability to communicate with all other entities relating to it, including other Vehicles (V2V), Pedestrians (V2P), traffic Infrastructure (V2I) like traffic lights and lampposts, and Networks (V2N) – is rapidly reshaping the roads of the future.

Connected vehicles driven by C-V2X

Communication speed is essential to keeping road operators and users accurately and continuously informed of rapidly changing traffic developments in real time. With 5G networks being rolled out globally and set to cover a third of the world’s population by 2025, C-V2X has likewise evolved to leverage the ultra-low latencies, high connection densities, and high bandwidth capabilities of 5G.

The potential benefits of connected vehicles are tremendous because of this growing sophistication in connectivity. From enhancing traffic efficiency, congestion management to improving road safety, the future of mobility is about delivering an integrated commuting experience that is not only safe and reliable, yet efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Enhancing traffic efficiency for transport operators

Transportation systems worldwide have to cope with increasing demand due to rapid mass urbanisation while keeping in view the equally pressing urgency to reduce congestion and carbon emissions in the face of climate change. These seemingly opposing needs can be resolved by smart traffic management for enhanced travelling efficiency.

A big part of smart traffic management is about data collection and analysis to provide real-time situational awareness of traffic networks as well as the timely dissemination of information to road users. While data collection is traditionally achieved through extensive deployment of vehicle detectors on the road, this expensive method offers neither extensive nor exhaustive network coverage.

C-V2X can yield transport authorities a richer set of real-time data from connected vehicles, infrastructures and sensors for enhanced analysis and decision-making. Traffic management systems collect data and deploy analytics and AI to analyse and develop models and predictions for better traffic flow management and incident mitigation while reducing congestion and idling on the road.

Junctions, where stops, speed changes and accidents commonly happen, can delay traffic and cause potential bottlenecks to traffic flow. Ensuring they are managed efficiently is critical to seamless and sustainable traffic management. C-V2X connectivity offers dynamic data feeds to AI-driven smart junction systems to enable advanced traffic sensing to better anticipate demand. Traffic controllers and operators can plan and programme traffic light signal times to enhance traffic efficiency and minimise unnecessary delays at junctions for more seamless travelling.

Lastly, when drivers receive this traffic data via their onboard units, they can make more informed route planning on-the-fly, influencing driving patterns.

Improving road safety for road users

With human error acknowledged as a leading cause of road accidents for motorists and pedestrians, here are two ways that C-V2X can pave the way towards safer roads:

Advance warnings
Motorists encounter many unknowns on the road, especially when navigating through traffic junctions. With C-V2X, real-time detection and alerts are possible with connected roadside sensors and vehicles. For example, sensors at junctions can detect pedestrian movements and send alerts to warn all approaching motorists in the area. With awareness of the pedestrian locations, motorists can proactively anticipate and respond to potential dangers.

Collision avoidance
Through a highly responsive V2X-based forward collision avoidance system that actively senses road hazards and pedestrians in the travelling path of motorists, C-V2X can provide advanced warnings beyond current driver assistance systems in modern vehicles. Such cooperative collision avoidance algorithms work in tandem with smart traffic management systems for improved road safety and smoother traffic.

Dynamic use of road space

C-V2X also enables more dynamic uses of existing road spaces to address different real-time needs. This flexibility in reallocation and routing is key to successfully adapting limited road spaces based on prioritised demands. Here are some examples:

Dynamic virtual priority lane
For emergency vehicles, every second counts. C-V2X can help save lives by creating dynamic “virtual priority lanes” for emergency vehicles such as police cars, ambulances and fire-fighting trucks.

With dynamic bus lane changing algorithms, transit priority lanes that were once exclusive to buses can now be opened to other vehicles. This works by prompting motorists to use the bus lane when there are no buses in the lane. Conversely, when there is an oncoming bus, motorists will be alerted to give way and change lanes. This substantially increases the road capacity when it is needed most.

Priority traffic signal
To reduce delays for travelling public buses at junctions, traffic light timings can also be dynamically adjusted in response to real-time traffic flows to improve the day-to-day variability in bus travel time and deliver better service reliability for commuters. With C-V2X-enabled junction management, first responder vehicles can connect with traffic lights at a C-V2X-enabled junction management to initiate a safe change when generating a green light to reduce junction delays and shorten incident response time.

Driving towards a C-V2X-enabled transport ecosystem

As global C-V2X trials continue to accelerate with the deployment of more use cases and collaboration among industry stakeholders such as transport authorities, automakers, telecommunication providers and technology companies, C-V2X is fast gaining momentum as one of the key drivers of future mobility.

The market for connected cars is expected to soar above US$215 billion by 2027 . C-V2X, in particular, is being widely expanded in leading markets such as China and the US. China has adopted the 5G-based communication technology as a key part of its strategic five year plan, while the U.S. has put C-V2X to various trials. As C-V2X continues to gain traction, its market is expected to reach nearly US$62.7 billion by 2023.

The benefits of C-V2X are clear, especially for autonomous driving. To ensure C-V2X can be rolled out on a larger scale to benefit more road users and enhance transport ecosystems, there must be motivating factors to deploy C-V2X from all stakeholders. What is needed now is for the industry and governments to come together to set common standards and develop the digital infrastructure required to usher in this new era of automated and connected driving networks.

At ST Engineering, we are making V2X more impactful through our AGIL Smart Junction suite of solutions which leverages AI and big data to optimise traffic flow and efficiency. We are also augmenting our AGIL Urban Traffic Management System with V2X capability to ensure our solutions capitalise on this technology to provide better situational awareness for transport authorities, motorists and other road users, while ensuring safer and more seamless journeys on the road.

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