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Connected cars fill frequency bands and swamp address schemes

April 11, 2011 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222901490
Connected cars fill frequency bands and swamp address schemes Cars are becoming talkative and communicative. Future vehicles will automatically transmit data to the outside world. Communication partners include other vehicles, roadside units - and even the cloud.
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The car of the future will be like the smartphone of its user: Always on. An increasing number of applications requires a continuous flow of data to and from cars: Navigation systems download maps and traffic information, fleet management systems transmit current position data to their home base, car-to-x systems exchange the latest information on traffic flow and road condition with roadside units and oncoming vehicles. And on top of this data streams, bored rear-seat passengers surf in the internet, prompting the infotainment system to download bandwidth-intensive video streams.

The radio technology for all of these processes is mainly based on 2G and 3G mobile radio technology. For a handful of vendors, LTE appears at the horizon - if one thinks ahead for three to five years. For specific applications, 802.11p is utilized, a member of the 802.11 protocol family optimized for communications with fast-moving stations such as cars.

At the recent CeBIT and Embedded World industry meetings, research institutes as well as commercial companies showcased their visions of "smart" traffic scenarios with telematics, car2x and infotainment content generated in the cloud being the major building blocks.

Car2x communications

Car2x communications is one group of communications applications. Initially, the concept only included car-to-car communications (c2c) processes. The idea was that an on-board computer in the vehicles detects critical road conditions, traffic stalls and other situations relevant for oncoming drivers but beyond their field of view, and automatically exchanges such data with other vehicles. Already at an early stage of the development, the communication architects figured out that it would make a lot of sense to include so called roadside units (RSUs) which also would participate in the radio talk between the vehicles. RSUs can transmit speed limits, traffic light information or traffic congestion data to the vehicles and relay car-generated messages along the roads, increasing the range of their original transmitter. Communications between cars and RSUs is defined as car-to-infrastructure (c2i) communication.

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