Powering V2X (Vehicle to Everything) : How ATSC 3.0 Can End the Traffic Jam

As cars become computers, more bandwidth becomes vital.

Imagine a vast reduction in traffic jams and far fewer vehicle -and cycling- related fatalities.

“We want to manage transportation network operations, the whole system. That includes the interstate, the adjacent arterials; it also includes managing transit, curbs and freight,” as well as providing road conditions, weather and fleet management, said Tracy Larkin-Thomason, senior vice president for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, a consortium of car makers, OEMs, tech companies and public transportation agencies.

Larkin-Thomason, a 30-year veteran of the Nevada Department of Transportation, was joined by John Wall of Blackberry’s QNX; Bill Frykman, who recently led Ford’s connected fleet operation; and  Josh Weiss, co-founder and CEO of ARK Multicasting — the final of three webinars sponsored by AutoMobility Advisors and Sinclair Broadcast/One Media 3.0 on using ATSC 3.0 for connected-vehicle services in a V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) world.

V2X is the environmental ideal for autonomous vehicles that will have to sense and respond to everything around them—other vehicles, the infrastructure and pedestrian technology. ATSC 3.o is poised to make a necessary contribution to the data delivery capacity of that network.


“If we look at car architecture today, it has many ECUs—Electronic Control Units,” said Wall, senior vice president and co-head of BlackBerry Technology Solutions—Products, Engineering and Operations, and head of Blackberry QNX, which makes operating systems, hypervisors and middleware primarily for the auto industry.


An ECU is a “minicomputer within the vehicle that handles a single function,” Wall said. As the software-enabled vehicle sector matures, more functions are added, each with its own ECU. “This is creating a lot of wiring, a lot of communication and a lot of security vulnerability.”

In response, the industry is consolidating functions onto high-performance compute platforms similar to those found in PCs or smartphones—connected via high-speed ethernet. One challenge with this vehicular function collapse is mixed criticality systems—safety systems versus non-safety systems. “Many times, you’ll see that your infotainment system… [is] running on the same processor as your digital instrument cluster, which does have safety requirements,” Wall said.

There’s an increasing focus on safety and security as vehicles become more computerized, as well as having compatible operating systems. Vehicle OS diversity resembles that of early cellphones. Each company’s device had its own. It was only when Android and iOS finally dominated that app development could flourish.


“Today’s vehicles have much more compute power than the space shuttle when it was launched in the ’80s,” said Frykman, who helped launch Ford into the digital age with everything from build-to-order over the internet to Ford’s first EV, the first connected fleet vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E and more.

“There’s an opportunity for those vehicles to interact more effectively in their operating environment,” he said. Cities now have more than just traffic lights and stop signs. Now there’s congestion pricing and the ability to restrict areas to zero-emission vehicles—something happening in London that New York is considering, he said.

This control extends to the curb, which piled up with parcels during the pandemic. The public-private Open Mobility Foundation has rolled out a curb data spec to help manage the continuing cardboard onslaught. Cities can also can control mobility on the sidewalk — think scooters, shared bikes and delivery bots.

Safety is a huge driver of street-level V2X. Frykman said the United States leads among developed countries in vehicle-related deaths per million people, Frykman said.

“Technology [like] ATSC 3.0/C-V2X (cellular vehicles-to-everything) can be deployed to help address these death rates and make all of our movement safer and more efficient,” he said.


The big picture of V2X is safer transportation and more efficient freight operations, said Larkin-Thomason.

“We use it for asset management and planning — condition of roadway, pavement, real-time conditions in weather events; data for telematics for fleet maintenance and health maintenance,” e.g., knowing remotely if heavy equipment is compromised, she said.

Other applications include helping law enforcement and emergency management identify and reach incidents faster, as well as monitoring the health of the grid as more vehicles are electrified.

A big key to V2X transportation management—aside from the network—is tech standards.

“We’d love to have a basic data standard so there’s interoperability that’s agnostic to the type of infrastructure we put in and the type of devices… with a V2X application priority,” Larkin-Thomason said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation held a V2X Summit in August attended by 600. Three areas of focus emerged. The first—fostering a stable regulatory environment. The FCC opened up 5.9 GHz spectrum two years ago after it had been reserved for smart vehicle technology since 1999. V2X architects want a stable target. They also want to set deployment targets milestones and to create redundancy.

“We depend a lot on sensors in the field,” she said. “If they go down, it’s a maintenance issue, and they do go down. If there’s no redundancy, the vehicle won’t receive the data.”


Redundancy—having a backup network protocol to feed data to vehicles and sensors—

is inherit to ATSC 3.0. There is no other field-proven technology that can provide the type of fail-safe backup available with 3.0.

“We’re trying to provide an accretive augmentation to existing networks where there’s a hybrid broadcast broadband experience… We’re essentially a one-to-many downstream infrastructure,” said Weiss of ARK Multicasting, an LPTV group building an ATSC 3.0 network with around 300 stations in 39 states.

“History is going to repeat itself when it comes to how we’ve seen the internet [usage] and the data consumption on the home side, I think we’re going to see the same thing… on the connected car side,” Weiss said.

ARK is working on an over-the-air content delivery network (OTA-CDN) that pulls content from an edge or a home server versus a remote data center. This would free up an enormous amount of bandwidth in a V2X environment.

“Those files are going to be ginormous,” Weiss said. “We have to have a better way to get data to people rather than redundantly sending it over and over again.”

EVs are becoming much more data intensive as are the roadways they travel on and the towns and cities they travel though. It is logical there will be strategic points in the V2X ecosphere where the efficiencies of a multicast data network like ATSC 3.0 will be useful.

To watch the full webinar, click here.

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Rebecca McGuiness says:

December 22, 2022 at 5:50 am

This article on Powering V2X technology is very interesting and highlights the potential of ATSC 3.0 to revolutionize the transportation industry. It’s amazing to think about how this technology could potentially end traffic jams and improve safety on the roads.

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