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ABI Research: implementing DSRC above cellular is more cost-effective than implementing C-V2X

New analysis of V2X (vehicle to everything) conducted by ABI Research finds that the cost of implementing DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communication) above cellular communications is expected to be $13.50 to $15 lower per Telematics Control Unit than implementing a C-V2X (CellularV2X) solution.

The global automotive industry has been extensively comparing DSRC and C-V2X as technology alternatives for enabling V2X in vehicles in order to prevent accidents. Up until now, the added cost of V2X—a significant parameter—was hardly compared between DSRC and C-V2X. As vehicle manufacturers are increasingly integrating V2X in TCUs (Telematics Control Units), ABI Research analyzed the cost of adding V2X to the TCU using both technologies.

  • DSRC is a wireless communication technology designed specifically for automotive applications. The IEEE 802.11p Wi-Fi standard is an ad-hoc networking framework that operates in the 5.9 GHz range and is effective at distances of around 1 km for line-of-sight (LOS) applications and 300 m for NLOS applications, and is particularly optimized for connections between vehicles moving at high speeds. By sending basic safety messages (BSM), including vehicle position, speed, size, acceleration, braking status, and other safety-relevant information, DSRC targets use cases such as collision avoidance, queue warnings, and speed harmonization.

  • Cellular V2X is a comparatively recent technology, and is subject to a high degree of misunderstanding, ABI noted. Release 14 from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specified LTE-D2D (LTE Device-to-Device communication) for automotive applications: a PC5 radio interface with distributed scheduling, enabling vehicles to be connected without sending traffic over the network or requiring the network to schedule connections.

    As with DSRC, messages are transmitted in the 5.9 GHz spectrum, with the limited available bandwidth focusing the applications on safety use cases, with some scope for non-safety services. While D2D connections will not be made over the network, stakeholders in C-V2X look to eventually enable connections over the network, with 5G network slicing technologies providing the required QoS with respect to bandwidth, latency, and separation of mission-critical and non-mission-critical traffic. This long-term vision will see the introduction of safety-related services beyond the scope of D2D or DSRC V2X, including massive sensor data sharing for collective perception and remote operation. Vendors within the DSRC ecosystem also look to support coexistence with 5G automotive services in the future.

V2X System Architectures: C-V2X+LTE and DSRC+LTE. Both systems have very similar architectures. For both approaches, integration into a TCU yields considerable cost advantages, provided that the antennas can support RF coexistence for 5.9 GHz DSRC/D2D/Wi-Fi, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, and 1.6 GHz GNSS. Source: ABI Research. Click to enlarge.

We estimate that in the initial years of deployment, C-V2X plus LTE will carry a system cost between US$13.50 and US$15 higher than DSRC plus LTE. DSRC, being the longer established and incumbent technology has cost advantages typically associated with deployments in the field and a more competitive ecosystem.

—James Hodgson, Senior Analyst for Smart Mobility & Automotive

ABI Research’s new cost analysis indicates that C-V2X’s complexity and challenging requirements add cost over DSRC when taking into account that V2X is safety-critical technology.

The key architectural differences which impact cost according to ABI Research are LTE ruggedization and automotive qualification; the need for high accuracy clock source; the cellular royalty scheme; and the use of WiFi which is bundled with DSRC for free (DSRC is part of the WiFi standards family).

Since both DSRC and 4G cellular are available technologies with mature products on the market, the findings strengthen the industry view that the hybrid model of DSRC plus cellular is not only simpler to design and deploy but is more affordable as well.



P3 North America just published their research concluding that “cost increase of integrated LTE/C-V2X module towards single TCU modules is relatively low in comparison to DSRC scenarios, resulting in decreased monetary impact on consumers”

Also, ABI just published a blog indicating that "for many implementations C-V2X and 802.11p will have a comparable cost structure" and highlighted "the integration of C-V2X with the LTE modem, which would yield substantial cost advantages for C-V2X." Moreover, "C-V2X direct communications functions, as defined in 3GPP Release 14 published in 2017 provides longer range or higher reliability at the same range, as well as support for high speed use cases."

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