Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology — a 3GPP-based cellular standard that will help vehicles use the cellular network for a variety of tasks including real-time traffic reports, diagnostics, and emergency calls — is getting a step closer to reality.

AT&T, Ford, Nokia, and Qualcomm Technologies will test C-V2X technology in San Diego in conjunction with the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, the City of Chula Vista, and McCain, an intelligent transportation company.

The trial partners said the goal is to demonstrate the potential of C-V2X, and how it can be used to improve car safety and help traffic flow more efficiently. The trial also will be used to show car makers and cities the benefits of embedding cellular technology into cars. The trial is set to start later this year.

C-V2X is intended to operate in the the 5.9 GHz spectrum and is an extension of existing cellular standards. The technology will support non-line-of-sight awareness, making it possible for cars to see, hear, and understand the environment around the car even at blind intersections or in bad weather.

The benefit of C-V2X is that it connects the car to all types of objects that either have sensors or cellular connectivity. For example, C-V2X will connect the car to sensors that are in cameras, stoplights, traffic signs, buildings, or to people via their smartphones. C-V2X is considered a key step toward autonomous cars because it can help cars detect obstructions that are not visible to the driver yet.

MEC Makes it Possible

But what really makes C-V2X applications possible is multi-access edge computing (MEC) technology. When coupled with a network slicing architecture and MEC, C-V2X will have the necessary low latency needed for mission-critical connectivity, which is what car manufacturers need to provide non-line-of-sight types of applications. In this trial, Nokia will provide the MEC capabilities as part of its cloud infrastructure.

The 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) is also a staunch supporter of the C-V2X standard. The group, which was formed about a year ago, includes founding members Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, EricssonHuaweiIntelNokia, and Qualcomm.

Although this is the first trial of C-V2X in the U.S., the technology has been tested in other parts of the world. ConVeX, a consortium formed around C-V2X, announced a trial in January in Germany with Ericssson, Qualcomm, and Audi. Also, Qualcomm and Ericsson worked with Orange and PSA to test C-V2X in France in February.

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