Driving Safety and Efficiency with C-V2X and Applied Information

Thursday 3/24/22 08:05am
Posted By Jim Misener
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Imagine yourself as an emergency responder driving a fire truck to an incident. A situation like that involves risks like identifying paths through heavy traffic and crossing through red signals. In addition to the stress of arriving at the scene quickly, such risks could also make you a victim. You needn’t look further than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Fatal Occupational Injuries to Emergency Responders page to appreciate these dangers. The bureau notes that roadway vehicle accidents from 2011 to 2015 alone, accounted for 52 fatal injuries of fire and rescue service responders.

But imagine if your fire truck could pre-empt each traffic signal you approach to turn green and alert surrounding vehicles to safely move out of your way. Not only could you respond faster, but intersection crossings would be safer for you and other road users. This emergency vehicle pre-emption example, which makes it green-to-the-scene for responders, is now possible thanks to technologies like Cellular V2X (C-V2X) and forward-thinking companies like Applied Information.

Applied Information uses infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V), wireless telematics, and tightly-integrated solutions for roadway safety and efficiency. Their solutions range from intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to connected traffic cabinets and connected vehicle solutions that use C-V2X.

We recently caught up with Bryan Mulligan, President of Applied Information, to learn more about the development of their C-V2X-based solutions and where C-V2X is headed.

About Applied Information
Bryan describes Applied Information as an infrastructure company that started developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications and expanded into vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

Bryan says they’re inspired by how C-V2X can advance safety and potentially reduce the tens of thousands of roadway deaths and untold injuries which occur each year. In addition to safety and saving lives, they also want to improve traffic congestion and help the environment.

Applied Information’s initial product offerings included add-on C-V2X devices to prove that the technology could support vehicle to network (V2N) use cases, such as the TravelSafely smartphone application that provides safety alerts using information from connected vehicles. The company then collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) engineers so that vehicles with C-V2X could immediately use C-V2X infrastructure. Together the companies worked with multiple industry stakeholders to demonstrate that C-V2X is a simple, effective method for reliable communications between devices and infrastructure – including auto manufacturer Audi of America, school bus maker Blue Bird Corporation, local distributor Temple, Fulton County Schools and the City of Alpharetta. This video demonstrates how an Audi e-tron embedded with C-V2X and a Blue Bird bus equipped with Applied Information’s onboard unit (OBU) can talk to each other.

Bryan sees C-V2X as part of a fabric where everything is connected, and many pieces play a role in traffic infrastructure, including the infrastructure itself, emergency vehicles, school buses, and more.

Development Process
Applied Information offers several solutions like their AI-500-095 series (one of several C-V2X-equipped devices) built around the Qualcomm C-V2X 9150 chipset. This product family is part of a vision to drive connectivity in the pursuit of resolving real-world roadway problems.

Applied Information’s hardware and software designs abstract away the radio technologies to handle multiple radio types to accommodate this requirement. This design also reduces the complexities of integrating C-V2X.

Applied Information used Quectel’s C-V2X AG15 modules, integrated with Qualcomm C-V2X 9150, which were straightforward to get working. According to Bryan, our Qualcomm 9150 SoCs are stable, effective, and fulfill their stated functions. The company received great support from Quectel and QTI but didn’t require much since the documentation was informative and the radio technology worked as expected.

Bryan says it took only six months from ideation to initial field deployments using C-V2X technology in the city of Alpharetta, GA, where the company’s headquarters is located. The company also benefits by having access to the Infrastructure Automotive Technology Lab (iATL) in Alpharetta, where its membership of automakers, suppliers (including Qualcomm), and transportation infrastructure manufacturers collaborate on C-V2X-based technologies.

Bryan admits he was surprised by how easy it was to make these systems work. He attributes this to the maturation of technologies like C-V2X, allowing companies like his to focus on solving business problems. In their collaboration with Audi, engineers from both sides exchanged messages immediately upon initial development.

Driving Forward
Looking ahead to the future, Applied Information is focused on creating an environment where C-V2X is ubiquitously deployed via infrastructure. Bryan notes that C-V2X will become part and parcel of tomorrow’s V2X products as prices drop and technology regulation matures. This means the technology will not only fulfill regulatory obligations but will be proven, standardized, and no longer viewed as a specialist’s technology for specific circumstances. With this technology deployed, many innovative apps will follow, such as congestion mitigation, air quality improvement, safety and efficiency apps, etc. The company will also use over-the-air (OTA) software update capabilities to deliver new types of apps developed in the future.

Given C-V2X’s effectiveness, Bryan says C-V2X will likely become the radio of choice for delivering apps demanded by consumers, similar to how smartphone manufacturers converged on standardized radio technologies.

Opportunities for Developers and Inventors
The auto industry is just at the cusp of selling connected vehicles. It’s still in the phase of identifying problems and the clever ideas and innovations to resolve them. Brian suggests that developers and inventors start by looking for non-trivial problems and solving them at the business level before entering development.

Bryan stresses that up until recently, there have been lots of prototypes in this space. But now is the time to create real-world deployments based on the merits of C-V2X as a radio technology that deliver apps that consumers want. For developers and inventors, that’s where the opportunities lie.

Additional Reading
For additional information about Applied Information and our automotive solutions, check out the following resources:

Qualcomm C-V2X 9150 is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.