Verizon and Cisco are testing a virtualized network to deploy autonomous delivery vehicles and robotaxis
The proof-of-concept project shows that this approach could be a safe and cheaper alternative to roadside units, the companies say.
Cities could use cellular and mobile edge computing to deploy delivery robots and robotaxis instead of installing roadside units to power the network, according to a new study from Verizon and Cisco. The two companies recently completed a proof-of-concept project in Las Vegas to test the idea.
Instead of deploying enough roadside units to build a vehicular-to-everything network, cities could use existing cellular networks, provided they have public MEC infrastructure. Using existing cellular networks would accelerate the deployment of autonomous vehicles, but some government agencies are concerned about the service limitations of this approach.
The Cisco and Verizon test proved that the combination of Verizon’s LTE network, public 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, and Cisco Catalyst IR1101 routers meet latency thresholds required for autonomous driving applications, according to the companies.
Krishna Iyer, director of systems architecture at Verizon, said in a press release that the project shows the power of mobile edge computing platforms for connected transportation innovation with a much more streamlined architecture. .
“This test is an important step in proving that the future of connectivity for IoT applications can be powered by cellular,” he said.
Mark Knellinger, senior transportation solutions architect at Cisco, said in a press release that this is “huge for road operators in that it relieves them of the massive expense of deploying and operating a dedicated vehicle-to-everything environment”.
SEE: Top 5 self-driving car roadblocks
Using a virtualized network for AV communications could be a cheaper alternative to installing roadside units. A 2014 study by the US Department of Transportation found that the the average installation cost for a single dedicated short-range communication station ranged from $13,000 to $21,000. These stations are a central part of any vehicle infrastructure. Cost includes material, installation labor, and design and planning. The authors noted that equipment costs fell over the course of the experiment, and prices could fall further as the market expands and technical specifications stabilize.
Components of a vehicle-to-everything infrastructure
Autoweek describes the “everything vehicle” as the umbrella term for a vehicle’s connected communications that can help the car navigate the environment and returning the information to the communication network. This includes processing real-time traffic information, reacting to changing road conditions, and recognizing traffic signs and warnings.
According to Autoweek, the term also includes other communications, including:
- Vehicle-to-vehicle: Exchange information wirelessly with other vehicles on the road.
- From vehicle to infrastructure: Share and receive information with infrastructure elements such as connected cameras, streetlights, signs and lane markers.
- Vehicle to Pedestrian: Communicate with cyclists and walkers to improve safety.
- Vehicle to Network: Connect and share data with data centers, road infrastructure and other cars.
Obtain multi-stakeholder agreement
Another report on construction costs from vehicle to infrastructure illustrates the complexity of these projects. The report lists these stakeholders involved in a V2I deployment:
- Road operators
- Mobile network operators
- Suppliers/Technology Providers
- vehicle OEMs
- Service provider
- Service solution user (drivers and fleet operators)
- Academic research
Agreeing on a communication architecture is obviously a key element of these projects. This article analyzes the costs of a communication system based on a cellular network, which could be 2G, 3G, 4G and/or 5G, and two direct communication plans which use a dedicated spectrum, 802.11p and PC5.
The study concluded that a mobile communications network-based infrastructure is attractive and cost-effective, but there are also concerns about whether this type of network can support security-critical services. The report’s authors found that “a cautious view is often taken by ROs, where guaranteed performance for these services can currently only be provided through direct communication systems.” The problem is that these services “tend to be limited and do not necessarily guarantee the ability to maintain such levels of service across the entire road network”.