Ford Motor Co. is all in when it comes to adopting Qualcomm’s 5G cellular vehicle-to-everything technology, saying it plans to add C-V2X to all of its vehicles by 2022 in a blog post written by Don Butler, executive director of Ford’s connected vehicle platform and product.
C-V2X, or cellular vehicle-to-everything technology, is a wireless communication technology that can “talk” to and “listen” for similarly equipped vehicles, people, and traffic management infrastructure such as traffic lights to relay important information and help make city mobility safer and less congested.
Planned alongside the rapidly building 5G cellular network, C-V2X enables direct communication between the connected devices, meaning a signal doesn’t need to first travel to a cellular tower, allowing vehicles to quickly send and receive information. Ultimately, it lets drivers know what’s ahead of them even before they have to encounter it, according to Butler.
“Navigating four-way stops becomes much easier with C-V2X, for example, since vehicles will be able to communicate with each other to negotiate which one has the right of way,” writes Butler. “In the same way, a car that’s involved in an accident can relay its status to approaching vehicles, giving them advance notice of a potentially dangerous situation. Even a pedestrian equipped with a mobile phone could convey their location to other vehicles, ensuring that everyone on the road is aware of people who may be out of their direct line of sight.”
Vehicles also could communicate with traffic signals, alerting drivers when a light is about to change. Ford could take things even further, Butler wrote. C-V2X could be integrated with driver aids, like those in Ford’s recently introduced Co-Pilot360 suite. Or it could be added to self-driving cars. Emergency vehicles could be equipped with C-V2X transmitters, allowing cars to detect their presence and move out of the way.
“Our move to deploy this technology builds on our prior commitment to equip every model we release in the United States with conventional cellular connectivity by the end of 2019,” Butler writes. “C-V2X will work with Ford Co-Pilot360, our advanced suite of driver-assist and safety features standard across North America on new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks, including F-150, going forward.”
With plans to roll out 5G cellular networks underway, Butler writes, C-V2X can complement the sensors of self-driving cars. While these vehicles will be fully capable of operating without C-V2X, the technology could add to its comprehensive view from the LiDAR, radar and camera sensors.
For instance, if emergency vehicles were equipped with C-V2X transmitters, they could notify self-driving vehicles that may be on their route so the vehicles pull over or reroute in plenty of time. Self-driving vehicles could even get real-time updates on road conditions that affect their routes.
“A conducive regulatory environment must be in place for C-V2X to be deployed, which is why we are working just as much with industry and government organizations to create such a technology-neutral environment,” he wrote. “This technology will only live up to its full potential if many vehicles on the road as well as roadside infrastructure take advantage of it. That’s why we are inviting other automakers, infrastructure and road operators, as well as government agencies to work with us to accelerate momentum for C-V2X.”