Cisco and Verizon Vegas trial aims to make autonomous vehicles safer
Long-time tech buddies Cisco and Verizon have collaborated on a proof-of-concept demo in Las Vegas, showing how cellular and mobile edge computing (MEC) technologies could be a key enabler for autonomous vehicles.
The networking firm and comms operator’s joint project focussed on improving the communications between vehicles and their surrounding infrastructure, which they claim is essential for creating safer roadways and enabling cost-effective autonomous driving in the future.
The companies maintain that intersections need to be securely connected and equipped with computing to allow applications at the edge to communicate and inform split-second decision-making.
Autonomous features in connected vehicles have typically relied on ‘costly’ roadside radios to extend the signals that vehicles use for low-latency communication with each other and their surrounding connected infrastructure.
Cisco and Verizon’s demo showed that by using Verizon’s LTE network and public 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, together with Cisco Catalyst IR1101 routers in connected infrastructure, they can virtualise the role of these roadside units while meeting the latency thresholds required for autonomous driving applications.
By virtualising roadside infrastructure, the firms claim that cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications was more streamlined and was likely to result in improved efficiency and cost effectiveness for municipalities, infrastructure providers and application developers working with autonomous vehicles.
The companies believe the trial demonstrated a simpler and more efficient route to powering applications such as autonomous last-mile delivery bots and robotaxis to negotiate intersections with traffic signals – particularly in cities like Vegas, where public MEC technologies currently exist.
The firms added that these capabilities could lead to safer, less congested roads in current connected and autonomous vehicles, with scalability for future applications hosted at the edge and using LTE and 5G connectivity.
In a statement Krishna Iyer, director of systems architecture, Verizon, said: “This test is a huge milestone in proving that the future of connectivity for IoT applications can be powered by cellular
“We’re marking the strength of mobile edge compute platforms for connected transportation innovation with much more streamlined architecture.”
Mark Knellinger, lead transportation solutions architect, Cisco, added: “The future of autonomous vehicles cannot progress without reliable communication between vehicles and their surrounding environments is huge for roadway operators in that it relieves them of the massive expense of deploying and operating a dedicated V2X environment.”
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