ITS World Congress: V2X, protecting vulnerable road users, and e-bikes

The ITS World Congress is one of the biggest events in smart mobility and the digitalization of transport, with key players in the ecosystem from car OEMs and automotive tier one companies, as well as transport groups and government representatives. Chip companies are also a key part of this, and one of them, NXP Semiconductors is showcasing, along with its partners, various safety scenarios enabled by vehicle-to-vehicle communication (vehicle-to-X or V2X).

One of the scenarios presented is in conjunction with premium e-bike manufacturer, Riese & Müller, highlighting how to better protect vulnerable road users using V2X and help prevent traffic accidents. The e-bike uses NXP’s V2X technology based on 802.11p, a communication standard also known as DSRC (dedicated short-range communication). Optimized for automobiles, 802.11p allows vehicles, road infrastructure and other road users to exchange information in real time.

The need for deploying such technology is evident from road accident statistics. Every year, more than 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents across the world and more than 50 percent of the fatalities are cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. Technologies such as V2X and driver assistance systems can make a significant contribution to help reduce these numbers and are already in standard use in selected passenger car models today.

NXP ITS World Congress Cyclist_Alert
An e-bike can transmit data on its position, speed and direction of travel to other V2X-enabled vehicles in the vicinity that could pose a potential danger to the cyclist. (Source: NXP)

To demonstrate how road user safety can be enhanced, NXP and Riese & Müller have built a smart electric bicycle prototype, combining NXP’s RoadLINK automotive-qualified DSRC modem and hardware secure element IC for V2X applications, with the Cohda Wireless’ on–board unit. The configuration enables the e-bike to transmit data on its position, speed and direction of travel to other V2X-enabled vehicles in the vicinity that could pose a potential danger to the cyclist. The module calculates the distances between road users and position changes within seconds. In the event of a dangerous situation, both the cyclist and a car’s driver, would receive a timely collision warning.

Lars Reger

The CTO of NXP, Lars Reger, explained to, “Electric bicycles are the most used electric vehicles in Europe. They also can get involved in the most serious accidents. Hence we have to make sure that cars, trucks, buses are able to detect these vulnerable road users.”

Adding to this, Huanyu Gu, senior product marketing manager for ADAS at NXP, said, “Everyone on the road deserves to be safe, from the student on a bike to the road worker and those in premium vehicles. The quest starts with allowing vehicles and road users to communicate in real time and V2X meets this need by linking infrastructure and road users. V2X can connect and inform a vast web of e-bikes, e-scooters, breakdown assist vehicles and even construction site lighting to create a web of safety for all who share the roads.”

Reger pointed to the many other possibilities of V2X, with his favorite being automatic valet parking. The city of Hamburg will be shoing such a demo at ITS World Congress. Ford of Europe, Kopernikus, Continental, Cohda Wireless and NXP will demonstrate the future of automated valet parking at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. Within this, NXP’s V2X technology inside the car and in the parking garage infrastructure enables the Ford electric vehicle to park itself and charge, with no human involved. Reger said this kind of application could be available to users probably within the next three to five years.

Other scenarios that will be shown by the city include BiDiMoVe (bidirectional multimodal network), which enables demand-based prioritization of public traffic at traffic lights including new hazard warning system; and Green4transPORT, which provides dynamic traffic management including intelligent traffic lights control to reduce carbon emissions.

New i.MX 8XLite applications processor for V2X and IIoT

In addition to demonstration of scenarios at ITS World Congress, NXP also announced the release of its new i.MX 8XLite applications processor focused on secure V2X and industrial IoT applications. The SoC features NXP’s integrated EdgeLock security and is targeted to meet FIPS 140-3 while simultaneously executing highly complex cryptography and processing telematics data. FIPS 140-3 is a U.S. government security standard for cryptographic modules used in a variety of applications, including V2X and critical infrastructure applications.

The applications processor offers carmakers the opportunity to expand V2X benefits to entry level vehicles. It enables fleet management for automated vehicles and reduces operational costs via enhanced traffic control, improved traffic flow and optimized path planning. Industrial IoT developers can also deploy the SoC in secure wireless, Ethernet and control area networking (CAN) applications such as industrial vehicle management, building control and safety systems, solar power generation, EV charging stations, and access controllers.

The i.MX 8XLite SoC is a member of the i.MX 8 series of applications processors, purpose-built with a V2X accelerator, which can be used as part of NXP’s RoadLink V2X solution or as a standalone accelerator. Its vehicle-to-infrastructure capability helps vehicles communicate with roads, bridges and roadside units to obtain information about road conditions ahead. Its car-to-car communication enables cars to communicate via wireless technologies such as IEEE 802.11p, 5G and cellular, creating a network of similarly equipped vehicles to “see” further ahead.

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