Cohda Wireless' contribution to the self-driving-future:
The global leader in Intelligent transportation systems and vehicle communications is nor an American, Asian or European company and does not even have its own Wikipedia page. Its technology is well known and frequently used by most major car manufacturers. Once there where people even speaking about the possibilities of the Cohda Wireless self-driving car. But today, the company raises little brand awareness with your average Joe. This mainly because of its partnership with Delphi, which seems to be receiving all of the credit.
Today, Australian based Cohda Wireless has deals with 20 of the big car producers and/or tech suppliers and their hard-and software products are used in more than 60 per cent of all V2X (Vehicle to everything) governmental field trials worldwide. The MK5, Cohda’s latest model, is on its way of becoming the standard in 802.11 short-range radio wave and portable communication systems, and by introducing their latest invention, the V2X-Radar, a 360 degrees radar sensor, Cohda reveals it is building a full service driverless car system, and maybe even a full-blown Cohda Wireless self-driving car.
Vehicle-to-everything (or V2X/V2E) communication is the passing from information from a vehicle to anything that may cross its path. This is divided into V2I communication (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure), V2V (Vehicle-to-vehicle), V2P (Vehicle-to-Pedestrian), V2D (Vehicle-to-device) or V2G (Vehicle-to-grid). Implementing all these V’s in the right places means building a completely driverless transportation grid.
V2D; one command on your mobile phone and your car pulls out of the garage into the driveway and unlocks the doors. V2E; your car drives of the driveway, mapping its surroundings and constructing a 3D map. V2V; on its path it crosses another car, keeping a safe distance and matching the speed. V2P; you come up to a crossroad. Round the corner of an impossible to see angle a pedestrian ignores a red light. Your car sensors picks it up and brakes. V2I: if not for the pedestrian, your car would have halted anyway because of the stop sign. V2G: you are approaching your destination. The car’s grid communication knows the available parking spaces in the area and brings you to an effortless full stop. For more info on V2E communication, watch the video below.
Some V’s have been around for years, like V2Grid represented by the GPS system. Some will be brand new, V2Pedestrian for example. V2Device and V2Everything have introduced to the car user through smart car applications like for example Apple’s Carplay or BMW’s iRemote. Making a recent introduction is V2Everything, through Mobileye and Lidar. V2Vehicle is relatively new too; advanced cruise control or active lane departure is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. The final step in the automation of transportation would be realised by V2Infrastucture, for which today we, unfortunately, have to look at advanced rail systems like Japan’s. Hopefully we will soon find automated congestion management or intersection management in the car industry.
The main focus of vehicular communication systems are automation and reducing traffic collisions. US regulators believe implementing V2E technology in all cars could reduce traffic accidents by 80%. Driverless or no driverless, all these previous implementations have to be standardized to operate flawlessly. Therefor there has to be a system overarching all brands and models. 2013 was the year US regulators started talking about rulemaking the implementation of vehicle communication, specifically about making V2V mandatory. The original plan was to have this happen in 2017. That ball was easily dropped but picked up again along the way. And the US government joined forces with Cohda Wireless. Cohda’s latest V2V technology, the MK5, is being used in project US Ignite, a White House initiative that is run by the National Science Foundation (NSF), testing and unifying connected car communication. Those tests started in 2016, pushing back the deadline for mandatory V2V systems to about 2020.
Introduced in 2014, Cohda’s latest communication module is the MK5 and as Cohda calls it is ‘the industry’s benchmark for mobility, performance and flexibility.’ It consist of two models, one equipped within vehicles (OBU) and the other for road infrastructure (RSU). The MK5 is designed to work with vehicles at speeds up to 150 mph and within a 0.6 miles range and is based on the latest RoadLINK technology from NXP Semiconductors. In 2016 the manufacturing and distribution was taken over by u-blox. Except for project US Ignite, the system is also used in a similar German project named simTD in collaboration with Siemens. All throughout Europe the MK5 is used for regulatory testing project. Also car manufacturers themselves have been using Cohda’s MK5 in their driverless testing. Delphi has openly integrated the complete software stack, as so have General Motors and Audi.
The latest step Cohda has taken to further expand their market leader position is including V2E hardware into their packet, more specifically their V2X-Radar. It is an own production 360-degree radar component built into the existing MK5 structure. Additional to the MK5 it detects surrounding buildings, road signs and vehicles or pedestrians not equipped with V2X communications. Also it is ’unaffected by rain, snow or fog, and can ‘see’ around corners’. This puts Cohda in straight competition with other market leaders from previously untrodden niches like Mobileye or Velodyne. The product is almost there, now to continue the lobbying and Cohda is on its way to launching the first (driverless) connected car communication system.