Spanish researchers have developed a system based on 5G telecommunications technology that allows cars to ‘talk’ to each other.
The technology, designed to improve future road safety by allowing vehicles to automatically exchange information via a new 5G radio access system, has been developed by a team from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV).
“The main novelty of the new system is that it allows the continual adjustment of waveforms in such a way that vehicles can communicate with each other, thereby overcoming the hurdle of not having a set station for communication,” explained José F. Montserrat, project researcher at the UPV’s Institute of Telecommunications and Multimedia Applications.
Telecommunication companies and researchers all over the world are currently exploring 5G technology, which is set to replace the current 4G mobile telecommunication networks at the onset of the next decade.
Described as a massive step change in bandwidth availability and reduction in latency, 5G is expected to fully usher in the era of the Internet of Things, including the full development of driverless cars.
The Spanish system for car-to-car communication was first presented in March this year, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The demonstration consisted of three programmable cards equipped with the type of integrated circuit known as the field-programmable gate array, or FGPA. FGPA allows the user to configure the circuit after manufacturing. Together with four antennas, the FGPAs enabled the UPV team to integrate different waveforms, which carry data through the air. The whole system did not only enable direct communication between vehicles, but was also integrated into a conventional mobile communication system.
The technology was developed as part of the METIS-II project funded through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme by the European Commission.
The project is part of the 5G Public-Private Partnership that brings together industry manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, SMEs and researchers, in order to accelerate the development of 5G and its applications.
The system by the UPV team could in future contribute to improved road safety and help reduce the number of accidents on European roads.
Progress in 5G development is happening all over the world. Last month, researchers from the universities of Bristol and Lund demonstrated a technology allowing a twelve-fold increase in wireless data transmission compared to current standards, using 5G technology known as massive MIMO. The system consisted of 128 directional antennas – a major difference compared to existing system, which usually uses four.