NXP demos car-to-x communications platform

May 19, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
As part of the Automotive Week 2011 which took place this week in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), chipmaker NXP demoed a car-to-x communications platform based on the company's software-defined multi-standard digital radio platform.

The platform has been co-developed with Cohda Wireless, an Australian expert company for RF transmission algorithms and protocols. In terms of hardware, NXP used the same platform as it does for its software-defined wireless multi-standard receivers. The implementation of the 802.11p wireless standard has been developed by Cohda Wireless.

In terms of functionality, the platform allows drivers to "see" around corners and other obstacles and recognize traffic blocks. In an operation demonstration on a normal street with two Car-to-x equipped vehicles drivers received early warnings from cars hidden from sight - for instance because they were approaching around corners. Experts such as Maurice Geraets, Business Development Manager for NXP, said they expect that one of the "early adaptor" applications will be warning transmissions from emergency vehicles which cause drivers to clear the road for the emergency vehicle. Another application will be traffic lights which indicate the remaining time before they change their color, helping drivers to optimize their speed.

In terms of reliable signal reception, the platform is close to automotive requirements. The wireless standard used for car-2-x communications is optimized for fast-moving objects such as cars on highways etc. According to NXP, the platform has successfully been tested at speeds of up to 90 km/h.

At the opportunity of the event, NXP Automotive General Manager Kurt Sievers said that the goal of CO2 reduction will change the automotive industry over the next few years much more than the industry has changed in the past 125 years since its inception. In order to reach that goal, electronics and algorithms will play a key role. Besides connecting vehicles to the outside worlds by means of GSM, UMTS and Car-to-x communications, also NFC will be an important enabling technology for the "smart" usage of vehicles: NFC-equipped smartphones will enable providers and users to "personalize" the vehicles. "This will be a big thing", Sievers said. An exclusive interview with the NXP automotive mastermind