05 Jun 2018

Concurrent dual-channel chip for automotive V2X communications

The need for wireless communications within vehicles and also to communicate to external nodes is increasing. Not only is this to be used for a variety of general communications, but also for autonomous driving and general vehicle safety.

Although 5G is being touted as being the major carrier for this form of communications, this is not expected to be available until the mid 2020s. However IEEE 802.11p is already available and have been undergoing trials for many years. It can support many communications needs and has a range of up to around 1km or so.

Addressing this sector of the market, u-blox has announced its UBX P3 chip for vehicle-to-everything, V2X wireless communication based on the DSRC/802.11p standard.

The nw u-blox UBX P3 builds on its predecessor, the u-blox THEO P1 and VERA-P1 V2X modules, and the company’s experience as a technology supplier to the existing V2X chip industry. Developed entirely in-house, the UBX-P3 takes u blox’s commitment to shaping the future of active safety and autonomous driving technologies to the level of industrialisation.

Driven by demands for reducing traffic accidents and optimized traffic management, V2X technology leverages wireless communication for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication, giving all vehicles on the road a shared real-time perception of their surroundings. In addition to increasing road safety, V2X technology improves traffic management and enables wide-ranging applications such as truck platooning as well as in areas including smart cities, mining, and agriculture.

UBX-P3 communicates via the IEEE 802.11p wireless standard, referred to as Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) in the USA. The DSRC/802.11p technology is mature and available for immediate deployment of V2X systems. Many automotive tier-1 suppliers are developing DSRC/802.11p based solutions. Car and truck OEMs have either deployed or plan to deploy the solutions commercially in the near future.

Size is important because the level of integration, in automotive applications like this where space may appear to be available, is key. Huge amounts of electronics are being fitted to automobiles and the modules all need to be as small as possible so they do not encroach on the areas required for passengers and other functionality. The UBX-P3 is offered in a compact 9 x 11 millimetre form factor, the UBX-P3 supports various design options for flexible deployments in the vehicle and the road-side infrastructure. The UBX-P3 concurrently communicates on two channels, which means that safety and service messages can be processed continuously providing greater safety in traffic. Alternatively, it can be used to enable the chip to simultaneously communicate on the same channel using two antennas, thus providing vehicles full coverage with no blind spots.

u-blox has a two decades experience working with the automotive industry’s quality and supply requirements. UBX P3 is designed in accordance with these stringent demands and complements u-blox’s portfolio of automotive grade positioning, cellular communication, and short range radio technology.

IEEE 802.11p, also known in some countries as DSRC is being utilised by Toyota and VW have said that there will be 802.11p functionality in all automobiles from 2019. This means that 802.11p has a head start over 5G and as a result, 802.11p / DSRC is likely to gain a significant level of early adoption.

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