Compliance in the connected vehicle ecosystem

  • 18 Nov 2018
  • Asif Hamidullah - GCF Office

The importance of standards in the wireless industry is of course well understood, and compliance with defined standards is becoming more and more important as our society’s dependence on wireless communications grows. The emergence of the IoT is driving a number of mission critical applications, perhaps none more so than those enabling the connected vehicle ecosystem.

The automotive industry is the largest segment of the exponentially growing IoT market, which is widely reported to see the greatest widespread consumer adoption of connected devices in the coming years. Innovation in connected and autonomous vehicles is creating new demands on automotive communications technologies to enable vehicles to communicate with the internet, other vehicles, the road infrastructure, other road users and pedestrians. Automotive device manufacturers are creating a multitude of solutions to this challenge and, in this fast-moving market, up-to-date and relevant wireless standards are essential. 

Definition of wireless standards is the remit of 3GPP, a global cooperation of independent standardization committees, including ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA and TTC. 3GPP prioritises and groups specifications for standards into “releases”, based on the sequence in which new functionality will be deployed in wireless networks. GCF works very closely with 3GPP to track the functionality in each release and working groups within GCF, comprised of representatives from GCF’s industry membership, specify the certification requirements needed to demonstrate compliance with 3GPP.

The wireless standards specified by 3GPP are critical to enabling the connected vehicle ecosystem and compliance with these standards is essential in a multi-vendor environment. In this context, GCF’s work in defining the certification requirements and test cases is key to ensuring that device manufacturers have access to the processes and tools necessary to achieve certification

 “LTE sidelink”, an adaptation of the core LTE standards, is a key technology for automotive applications, supporting vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) use cases. The functionality can also be used in conjunction with conventional LTE connections to mobile networks to open up a wide variety of innovative connected car services. LTE sidelink also offers the potential of out-of-coverage scenarios using connections over the 5.9 GHz band which has been allocated for Intelligent Transport System (ITS) services.

The relevant “core requirements” standards covering LTE Sidelink for V2V and V2X communications were defined by 3GPP in Release 14, which was finalised in June 2017. The development of the relevant conformance test specification is in its final stage in 3GPP RAN5, planned for full completion in September and December 2018 for V2V and V2X respectively. The certification requirements for V2V and V2X technologies were developed by the GCF working group, CAG#54. Following this work, test specifications, test cases and all required test equipment will be available from Q3 of 2018 to support manufacturers of relevant V2V and V2X communications devices in gaining certification against 3GPP Release 14 standards, thereby enabling them to demonstrate compliance of their products. 

V2V and V2X will revolutionise the transportation experience, researchers from Huawei’s German research centre in Munich articulated some of this vision in a recent paper and RCR Wireless has reported on trials of the technology in Japan and Germany – “…the trials are designed to show the enhanced range, reliability and latency benefits of C-V2X direct communications operated in 5 GHz band. Additionally, the C-V2X trials are designed to demonstrate the complementary benefits of network-based communications utilizing LTE-Advanced (LTE-A).”

This latest addition to GCF’s growing portfolio of automotive products, marks a further expansion from core wireless technologies into IoT applications and is a precursor to GCF’s overall strategy to service the emerging 5G ecosystem. In early 2018 GCF announced that it had initiated a work item to cover the 5G NR NSA and SA modes as specified in 3GPP Release 15. There are two phases of 5G core requirements specifications under Release 15; the first phase covering 5G NR NSA (New Radio Non-Stand Alone) mode delivered standard specifications in December of 2017. 5G NR NSA effectively leverages existing LTE broadband infrastructure to deliver higher speeds and lower latency. The second phase of Release15 is due to complete in September 2018 and will deliver standards specifications for 5G NR SA (stand-alone) – based on new 5G core network architecture. The development of the relevant 5G Release 15 conformance test specification is following closely these targets with first deliveries accomplished or planned in June and December 2018 respectively.

GCF is well placed to support the successful commercialisation of 5G based on its experience gained from the successful introduction of certification for previous generations of wireless technologies, such as 3G, HSPA+ and LTE. Development of these initial test cases for Release 15 formally signifies GCF’s participation in 5G. GCF’s strategy for 5G will continue to build on the work of 3GPP in order to provide an effective and efficient certification scheme to support the commercial roll-out of 5G devices and services worldwide.

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Asif Hamidullah - GCF Office

Asif Hamidullah - GCF Head of Certification, IoT & Verticals