July 10, 2014 — The connected car, the technology formerly known as telematics, is finally gaining some traction. Funny, though, maybe the word telematics was just too foreign for the average consumer to fathom. So along came the name the “connected car” and now it becomes all the rage.
To be fair, yesterday’s telematics was pretty fundamental – mostly just infomatics of one form or another, and mostly commercial (except for the consumer satellite-based navigation and service applications such as OnStar, which handled mostly safety issues). Not a lot to draw the consumer and make it a revenue generating technology.
But the connected car…sexy! So add, safety and security, infotainment (shopping, dining, streaming audio and video, interfacing Facebook and Twitter – all while driving?), after market requirements (automobile self-checks), insurance applications (what, connect a dongle that tells the insurance company I’m doing 105 down the 95….really?) customer relationship management (CRM) that tells the dealer what you like and dislike so the next time they can really upsell the car.
It is coming! At the last wireless infrastructure show one of the most interesting presentations was over a lunch and it was about tomorrow’s connected car. There was also a fair amount of buzz about it at the LTE World Summit a couple of weeks ago in Amsterdam.
And new technologies, fueled by intelligent networks, small cells and self-organizing/optimizing networks (SONs) are advancing the game. One such technology is Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC), which is included in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Strategic Research Plan, 2010-2014. The DOT is committing to using DSRC technologies for active safety for both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) applications.
DSRC is a two-way short-to-medium-range wireless communications capability that permits very high data transmission critical in communications-based active safety applications. The FCC has allocated 75 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for use by ITS vehicle safety and mobility applications (Report and Order FCC-03-324).
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) Applications
Safety and alerting V2V and V2I applications, utilizing DSRC, offer iterations that have the potential to reduce, perhaps significantly, many of the most deadly types of crashes. They can deliver real time advisories that will alert drivers to imminent hazards such as veering close to the edge of the road, vehicles suddenly stopped ahead, collision paths during merging, the presence of nearby communications devices and vehicles, and sharp curves or slippery roadway advisories.
Convenience V2I services like e-parking and toll payment are also able to communicate using DSRC. Anonymous information from electronic sensors in vehicles and devices can also be transmitted over DSRC to provide better traffic and travel condition information to travelers and transportation managers.
DSRC has a good pedigree. It features a designated licensed bandwidth, fast network acquisition, low latency, high reliability, interoperability and secure communications. Applications include:
• Blind spot warnings
• Forward collision warnings
• Sudden braking ahead warnings
• Do not pass warnings
• Intersection collision avoidance and movement assistance
• Approaching emergency vehicle warning
• Vehicle safety inspection
• Transit or emergency vehicle signal priority
• Electronic parking and toll payments
• Commercial vehicle clearance and safety inspections
• In-vehicle signing
• Rollover warning
As well, it can provide traffic and travel condition data to improve traveler information and maintenance services.
In fact, DSRC is the subject of a new report by iGR. And if iGR thinks it is pertinent, then who are we to argue?
Ernest Worthman is editor, Small Cell magazine