Automakers pit DSRC against 5G, Keysight touts DSRC test

May 7, 2018

Automakers are on two paths toward vehicle communications—Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) vs. 5G. According to Chester Dawson in The Wall Street Journal, GM and Toyota are backing Wi-Fi-derived DSRC, while Ford and BMW want to fast-track 5G into automobiles. Meanwhile Keysight Technologies is offering scalable PXIe systems that support DSRC RF measurements and protocol testing. The systems could be applicable to participants in this week’s V2X Plugfest in Plymouth, MI.

Dawson at the Journal writes, “The showdown between the Wi-Fi-based and cellular-based standards for connected cars echoes winner-take-all format wars in other industries and is a sign of how software is emerging as a new battleground for auto makers. The stakes are high as U.S. motor-vehicle deaths have risen in recent years.”

Dawson cites Counterpoint Research estimates that the global market for connected cars will grow nearly threefold by 2022, with more than 125 million interconnected cars to ship over the coming five-year period.

Dawson quotes BMW management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer as saying, “We are on a broader scale pushing the telecommunication companies to roll out 5G as quickly as they can.”

Dawson adds, “GM and Toyota, meanwhile, have models already equipped with DSRC, and are urging the Trump administration to support a 2016 proposal that would require auto makers to start phasing it into new cars as of 2021.” He quotes Steve Schwinke, director of GM’s advanced development and connected services, as saying, “Getting the rest of the industry to follow has been tough sledding.”

Cost is an issue. Whereas 5G vehicle applications could leverage telecom companies’ investment in infrastructure, DSRC could require billions of dollars in government-funded infrastructure, Dawson writes. In addition, the NHTSA estimates DSRC could add $300 to the price of a vehicle, whereas, Dawson suggests, a 5G approach could make use of the cellular modems that would be built into cars anyway.

Dawson reports that GM and Toyota see Wi-Fi-based technology as a bridge to 5G, which may take years to fully deploy. However, he writes, “Critics say the government shouldn’t force car makers to use older Wi-Fi-based technology some say is out of sync with fast-evolving cellular broadband. Last month, Audi and Ford demonstrated cellular-based safety technology called C-V2X in what they said was the world’s first application of it using vehicles from different manufacturers.” He adds that Volkswagen is aligning its Audi brand with 5G in the U.S. but will deploy a version of DSRC on VW-branded vehicles in Europe.

He concludes by quoting Nakul Duggal, the head of Qualcomm’s automotive business, as saying, “There is going to be 5G in every single next-generation car design.”

Keysight PXIe system supports DSRC RF and protocol test

In related news, Keysight Technologies offers scalable PXIe systems that support DSRC RF measurements and protocol testing.

The Keysight E6953A DSRC Certificate of Calibration (CoC) test solution employs PXIe hardware that reduces footprint and increases test density; a single, integrated PXI frame covers all CoC test cases. Other features include certification test cases for standard-specific measurements, an expandable platform for future V2X test needs, a DSRC transceiver module for CoC test cases, and a fully functioning, configurable, real-time on-board unit (OBU) or road-side unit (RSU).

Keysight said the solution is applicable to interoperability and device certification test in conjunction with V2X Plugfest, organized by OmniAir, an industry association promoting interoperability and certification for connected vehicles, intelligent transport systems, and transportation payment systems. Plugfest, running today through May 11, includes interoperability testing, field testing, and certification testing based on IEEE 802.11p, IEEE 1609.2/3/4, and SAE J2945.1 standards.

Keysight recently announced the signing of contract with IT-Telecom to collaborate on a testing solution for DSRC.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Keysight as a global V2X and autonomous-driving test and measurement system partner, and we expect this synergetic combination to extend both parties’ technical capabilities,” said Kwang Joo Choi, chief executive officer of IT-Telecom.

IT-Telecom is a leading V2X ITS solutions company in South Korea that specializes in DSRC technology. DSRC signaling modules and protocol expertise from IT-Telecom enhance system integrity and productivity.

“Keysight is pleased to collaborate with IT-Telecom, leveraging their proven DSRC technology to address this exciting growth area in automotive safety,” said Gooi Soon Chai, senior vice president, Keysight, and president of the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group. “We look forward to working closely with the V2X community to serve their evolving testing needs.”

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