Qualcomm, Nokia, AT&T and Ford have formed a partnership aimed at starting road tests for connect car technology in the United States. The tests will begin in San Diego, California, on public roads that have been specifically designated for the trials.
In the course of the trials cars that possess cellular modems will be able to communicate with other similarly equipped cars as well as road infrastructure including traffic signals. During the trials automated driving applications, improved traffic flow applications and accident prevention applications will be tested before they are commercialized in the next few years.
“We hope to see some level of deployment in the mid- to late-2019 time frame,” said the automotive product management vice president at Qualcomm Technologies, Nakul Duggal, in an interview.
According to Duggal there were other car manufacturers who had shown interest in becoming part of the testing program. This comes at a time when auto makers have started to use cellular modems in updating their complex software in their products over the air. The cellular modems in cars also offer a possibility of allowing data sharing with regards to providing updates on public road conditions beyond what they can see. For instance the technology could alert a motorist about a car which is approaching from an intersection when visibility is limited. The technology could also let drivers know about poor weather conditions or an accident before the motorist gets to the scene.
It is also a way of offering drivers diagnostic information for their cars as well as a way of allowing the marketing of services such as motor vehicle insurance by third party providers. But this comes at a risk as there is worry that connected motor vehicles would be heavily exposed to hacking.
In the tests a proprietary chipset developed by Qualcomm known as C-V2X will be used. The C-V2X technology enjoys a long range compared to the DSRC – dedicated short-range communications which uses Wi-Fi to connect cars. Nokia’s role is to provide know-how in cloud computing while telecommunications giant AT&T will offer a cellular network.
Earlier in the year there was the formation of another C-V2X consortium in Europe comprising of such members as Robert Bosch GmbH, Huawei Technologies and Vodafone Group. Audi cars from Volkswagen were used in this connected car technology test. There was also another European consortium comprising of Orange, Ericsson and Qualcomm which tested the C-V2X technology using Peugeot cars in France.