Qualcomm, San Diego area launch real-world self-driving comms test

With vehicle-to-pedestrian technology, a smartphone alert could indicate an approaching car. Similar tech is being evaluated by Qualcomm and governments in the San Diego area. (qualcomm)

Qualcomm on Tuesday announced the launch of an autonomous vehicle (AV) communications research and testing program on three miles of open roads in the San Diego area in coordination with state and local government agencies.

The goal of the program is to demonstrate the potential to improve auto safety and traffic efficiency in realistic conditions over what is known as fast cellular-vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications.   Colorado and Virginia have announced limited C-V2X deployments.

The project with the San Diego Regional Proving Grounds (SDRPG) will last through the remainder of 2020 along a three-mile stretch of highways and traffic light intersections off I-805 and Route 52 between Sorrento Valley and Kearny Mesa.

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Roadside base station units installed along the corridor will communicate with vehicle onboard radio units using the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X platform operating on the 5.9 GHz ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) spectrum, independent of a cellular network or cellular network subscription. The vehicles will communicate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights (V2I) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P).  

Qualcomm and BMW in April released a short video showing an off-road trial of V2P communication between a moving car and a person holding a smartphone while walking through a parking lot to demonstrate the pedestrian and car could both receive an alert of a potential crash

The FCC has proposed to allocate 5.9 GHz for C-V2X uses, which allows vehicles to share information without the involvement of a cellular network, offering both driver anonymity and support for safety applications.  C-V2X is designed to support 360-degree non-line-of-sight awareness.  That functionality means a vehicle would have the ability to see, hear and understand conditions down the road and at blind intersections and in bad weather.

The research and testing program will be open to automakers and road operators to explore the benefits of embedded cellular technology in vehicles and cellular base stations and roadside infrastructure.

The proving grounds organization known as SDRPG is comprised of the California Department of Transportation district 11, the city of Chula Vista and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).  Qualcomm is based in San Diego.

RELATED: Intel/Mobileye and Ford pair on driver assist tech despite car sales slump

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