ADVANCED MOBILITY

Smart Streets will Make Autonomous Vehicles Even Smarter

This article is part of an on-going series covering various aspects of Autonomous Vehicle technologies, adoption trends and impacts on consumers. Previous article in this series have focused on:
● Overview of Advances in Autonomous Driving Technology
● Assuring Safety in Autonomous Vehicles
● Advanced Technologies that Transform the “Rider Experience”
● The Road to Fully Autonomous Vehicles Runs Through Driver Assist Technologies

In this article, we widen the perspective to look at how autonomous vehicles will interact with parallel developments in intelligent infrastructure, sometimes referred to as “smart streets”. We also explore how the increased demands for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity will impact the design of on-board vehicle systems.
Advanced Traffic Infrastructure

Evolution of Smart Infrastructure and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Connectivity

This article is part of an on-going series covering various aspects of Autonomous Vehicle technologies, adoption trends and impacts on consumers. Previous article in this series have focused on:
● Overview of Advances in Autonomous Driving Technology
● Assuring Safety in Autonomous Vehicles
● Advanced Technologies that Transform the “Rider Experience”
● The Road to Fully Autonomous Vehicles Runs Through Driver Assist Technologies

In this article, we widen the perspective to look at how autonomous vehicles will interact with parallel developments in intelligent infrastructure, sometimes referred to as “smart streets”. We also explore how the increased demands for Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity will impact the design of on-board vehicle systems.
Advanced Traffic Infrastructure

Decision-making and Routine Driving

It has become second nature to handle the majority of routine driving decisions without thinking about them and to pull the conscious mind into the process only to deal with exceptions, such as being cut off by another driver or avoiding a jaywalking pedestrian. The move toward autonomous vehicles over recent years is shifting these monitoring and decision-making processes to automated sensors and response mechanisms, handled by the vehicles themselves.

As we have addressed in other articles in this series, advanced sensors and real-time processing by electronic control units (ECUs) enable autonomous vehicles to “see” the surrounding environments and to either assist drivers with handling the flood of information or to automatically handle decision-making without driver intervention.
Advanced Traffic Infrastructure

“For today’s drivers, these infrastructure advances have created a world that is packed full of information, which we are constantly monitoring, processing, and reacting to – often without paying much conscious attention."

“For today’s drivers, these infrastructure advances have created a world that is packed full of information, which we are constantly monitoring, processing, and reacting to – often without paying much conscious attention."

– U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Evolving Smart Infrastructures and Transformational Trends

In addition to off-loading drivers from the existing flows of visual information, automated vehicles are increasingly interfacing with the evolving smart infrastructures, as well as other vehicles, to gather unseen information and react at speeds that go far beyond what a human can handle. This trend toward cars that can “talk with” the surrounding infrastructure is radically changing the technology landscape. Connected and automated vehicles (sometimes called CAVs) have the potential for dramatically improving both safety and the overall efficiency of transportation systems.
Connected and Automated Vehicles

Enabling Technologies and Design Challenges

V2X implementation relies heavily on wireless technologies. A concept known as Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) has been developed specifically for automotive platforms to support both V2V and V2I requirements. As originally defined by IEEE 802.11p, new next-generation DSCR specification is being developed (IEEE 802.11bd) and combined with new Cellular V2X (C-V2X) technologies supported by 3GPP (release 16, 5G-NR) for full V2X enablement.

Regardless of the specific standards used, the over-arching challenges associated with V2X implementation are centered around the demands of high bandwidth, low latency and highly reliable wireless connectivity. Both ends of the communication linkage are critical, however, the task of implementing onboard wireless systems in vehicles is particularly challenging. Some of the key challenges include:

Low Latency

In addition to off-loading drivers from the existing flows of visual information, automated vehicles are increasingly interfacing with the evolving smart infrastructures, as well as other vehicles, to gather unseen information and react at speeds that go far beyond what a human can handle.

Summary

As automotive manufacturers continue moving toward autonomous “smart” vehicles, the complementary evolution of “smart” infrastructure will help usher in a safer and more efficient environment where vehicles are much more aware of the world around them and can acquire and respond to information in ways that human drivers cannot.
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