UK’s first vehicle-to-everything road safety system goes live. V2X (vehicle-to-everything) refers to communication between a vehicle and any entity that could affect or be influenced by it. It is a vehicular communication system that includes V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure), V2N (vehicle-to-network), V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian), V2D (vehicle-to-device), and V2G (vehicle-to-gearbox) (vehicle-to-grid).
To distinguish it from WLAN-based V2X, more current V2X communication uses cellular networks and is referred to as cellular V2X (or C-V2X). Several industry organizations, such as the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), have advocated for C-V2X because of its advantages over WLAN-based V2X. (without considering disadvantages at the same time).  C-V2X was first specified as LTE in 3GPP Release 14 and is intended to work in a variety of modes:
- V2V or V2I (device-to-device) communication
- Device-to-network communication (V2N).
For the first time on the open road in the UK, a powerful new mobility cloud platform is being tested to increase road user safety. The platform is a new type of information superhighway that will eventually connect vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and infrastructure in a seamless digital transport environment, leveraging the potential of mobile and data technology.
Developed by Vodafone, Nokia, and Chordant, with support from the UK Government Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAV) and the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) consortium, the platform is providing digitally connected road users in the West Midlands with live, highly localized and targeted updates from road operators on lane closures, speed restrictions, and traffic incidents with the vehicle-to-everything road safety system.
Using protected, anonymized, and aggregated vehicle position data delivered up to 10 times per second from users who have opted into the service, road authorities are also trialing the platform to regulate and reduce traffic bottlenecks and make educated planning decisions. This capability might be expanded to include emergency services responding to incidents such as someone driving the wrong way on a highway or breakdown recovery companies assisting vulnerable road users.
The vehicle-to-everything road safety system is an excellent illustration of how CAM Testbed UK, the UK’s world-leading test facility for Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM), is allowing innovation and the development of new technologies crucial to the safe and widespread adoption of connected and self-driving vehicles.
“Safety is of paramount importance to the development of systems that connect road users across mobile platforms. Running on Vodafone’s edge, Nokia analytics software will apply data insights to make roads safer, provide a better experience for users, and enhance road infrastructure management efficiency in a way that can easily be deployed across multiple geographies,” said Chris Johnson, Head of Nokia’s Global Enterprise Business.
“Road Operators are seeking to digitally interact and exchange information with vehicles and road users”, said Ash Wheeler, Senior Vice President at Chordant, “We’re delighted that, through this partnership and the services we are creating, transport authorities and vehicle manufacturers around the world will be able to test, validate and rapidly deploy standardized C-ITS services over existing cellular networks, improving road safety, reducing congestion and unlocking new driver experiences. This is also another important demonstration of how UK Government investment in the Future of Transport, through CCAV, is enabling innovation, international partnerships and solutions that will generate long term value for the UK in this space.”
Vodafone is building an ecosystem of linked automobiles, bicycles, and pedestrians spanning Europe and Africa, with each one acting as the road’s “eyes and ears” thanks to the open platform at its heart. This data can be utilized to alert each other of crowded traffic, incidents, and other dangers they may be approaching. More than 70% of cars built in 2020 will have digital telematics capabilities, and Vodafone is already collaborating with private and public sector organizations to expand the benefits of integrating in-vehicle linked technologies into the larger connected transportation ecosystem.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, is leading the way in the UK with the adoption of ‘vehicle-to-everything’ technology, starting with the region’s city centers and key transport hubs including Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton.
It allows real-time traffic information from Highways England to be shown on users’ smartphones and, in the future, on in-car entertainment systems, thanks to Vodafone’s fast 4G and 5G network and advanced multi-access edge computing (MEC) technology embedded into the platform.
The platform is the UK’s first live deployment of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, and it interacts with Convex, Chordant’s Mobility Data Exchange facility, to enable dynamic data to be exchanged with road operators and their traffic systems. C-V2X integrates cutting-edge mobile technology with in-vehicle computer systems to provide new mobility services that increase safety and dependability while also allowing road operators to establish “greener” and more sustainable transportation networks.
Mike Waters, Director of Policy, Strategy, and Innovation at TfWM, said: “We are now reaching the point where connected vehicle technology is genuinely able to start making a meaningful and very powerful difference to the big issues in transport like safety and energy efficiency. The work we have done with Convex and Vodafone is moving solutions forward not just for the West Midlands, but the whole country and exemplifies the UK’s position of global excellence in this space.”