Autotalks Offers Connected Car Chips That Combine Rival Standards

Connected car chip supplier Autotalks said that its latest chipset would support both dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology to allow vehicles to share their location and speed to help prevent accidents and bolster the safety of autonomous driving systems. The communications processor could allow customers to switch between the rival standards.

The potential market for connected car chips has increased since the United States proposed that every new car would have to support DSRC. The mandate has been delayed by the Trump administration’s regulatory slackness in addition to criticisms from companies that support C-V2X standard as an alternative. C-V2X technology which could be used in vehicles within the next two years and added to the new 5G standard.

Many industry analysts disagree. “There is no similar federal rule for C-V2X and no wireless spectrum allocation,” noted James Sayer, director of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, in a paper. “Nor has there been the equivalent amount of testing or development of C-V2X. As such, while DSRC is technically ready for deployment today, C-V2X would need a yet-unknown amount of additional time to develop, test, propose standards.”

D.S.R.C. allows cars to broadcast anonymous messages to other vehicles, including motorcycles and autonomous trucks, and infrastructure multiple times per second. The technology could also be used in roadside units so that cars can leave alerts about dangerous road conditions for cars out of its 1,000-foot range. Smartphones and bicycles could also support the standard to give cars a local map of pedestrians.

Other companies are trying to cut through the standards. Last year, San Diego, California-based Qualcomm released a connected car modem that uses cellular networks for telematics and other applications with high bandwidth requirements. The chipset also enables C-V2X communication in the 5.9 GHz band without using cellular infrastructure that can lead to lost connections on city streets and rural highways.

Fighting for position in the vehicle-to-everything communications market, Autotalks has raised $70 million in venture capital to boost production of its chips. The new chip can be installed with or without any cellular modem and switches between DSRC and C-V2X using a software-defined toggle. The company, which was founded in 2008, said that the new product is currently available. Autotalks could also sell the chip into connected traffic lights, stop signs, and other infrastructure.

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