C-V2X: The Up-and-Coming Superhero

By Steffen Buch - 2020-04-24

With over 10 times the user bandwidth and one-tenth the latency of LTE, the broad rollout of 5G is clearly THE buzz this year. Gigabit levels of data bandwidth previously only available via fiber optic cables are now available to the mobile handset via the 5G wireless connectivity standard. In addition, 5G provides other significant advantages to both wireless carriers and customers alike — including significantly improved spectrum efficiency, higher traffic capacity and “Five 9s” availability.

And while 5G is expected to significantly reshape the mobile communications market, 5G is also a key underlying wireless technology behind emerging vehicle communications (called C-V2X) that are expected to profoundly improve vehicle safety while reducing travel time and improving fuel efficiency.

Cellular vehicle-to-everything, or C-V2X, enables vehicles to communicate with each other and everything in their surroundings. C-V2X enables 360-degree non-line-of-sight awareness for enhanced road safety and will serve as a backbone for autonomous driving. Similar to Superman with X-ray vision, C-V2X can effectively look through walls and around corners and, like the $6 million man, enables drivers to easily “see” pedestrians and vehicles from far away.

The standards governing cellular technologies have changed over time to keep pace with innovation. Initially based on the digital short-reach communications (DSRC) standard, the V2X standard came to be based on a derivative of the 802.11 (Wi-Fi) wireless standard (802.11P). Over time, V2X evolved to C V2X, which is now based on LTE and 5G cellular 3GPP standards.

The benefits of C-V2X are profound and fall into three basic categories: danger alert, road awareness and traffic cooperation. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation appear to predict that 4.5 million crashes annually could be avoided via C-V2X. Through traffic cooperation, where all cars can communicate with each other, C-V2X could reduce travel time significantly. Quite a profound benefit from a simple wireless technology!

While it is still early days, multiple automotive OEMs are announcing the demonstration and deployment of C-V2X technology in vehicles that are just now coming to market. In time, the inclusion of C-V2X will essentially be mandatory; in Europe, for example, by 2024, an OEM will be required to support C-V2X in order to achieve an NCAP 5-star safety rating. Similar types of mandates and legislation are being considered in other geographies worldwide.

Inclusion of C-V2X in vehicles will not only require best-in-class wireless and baseband processing system-on-a-chip (SoC) technologies with very robust security, it will also dictate the need for robust, automotive-qualified memories that can fit into a very small footprint. Multichip package (MCP) memories consisting of the right mix of automotive-qualified memory (DRAM) and flash storage will be essential for success.

Given that C-V2X ultimately provides a view of the outside world that can be used to control the operation of the vehicle, data encryption and data security will be paramount. Micron’s unique AuthentaTM security solutions with embedded security elements provide root-of-trust capability for nonvolatile flash storage that mitigates exposure to zero-day vulnerabilities.

As with all superheroes, with great power comes great responsibility. To learn more about C-V2X, be sure to read the following white paper or watch the following video (courtesy of AutoTalks).

Steffen Buch