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NEC Ensures Communications Speed for Self-Driving Automobiles

07 February 2018

NEC Corporation, a developer of IT and network technologies, reports the development of an adaptive network control technology that allows automobiles to share information about their surroundings in real-time, even in unstable communication environments featuring numerous vehicles and communication terminals.

The introduction of self-driving automobiles, automated guided vehicles (AGV) at factories and drones for deliveries has been widely anticipated. However, in order to avoid collisions and ensure their safety, it is necessary for vehicles to share information about their surroundings in real-time through mobile networks.

Guidelines established for self-driving automobiles by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) require that at least 95 percent of communications reach their destination within 100 milliseconds.

As the number of communication terminals that are connected to a radio base station increases in a mobile network, the communication delay for each terminal also increases. These delays may differ from terminal to terminal and may fluctuate every second. Consequently, it has been nearly impossible to consistently reduce communications delays to below 100 milliseconds while in busy areas, such as major intersections.

The adaptive network control technology developed by NEC to control networks prioritizes certain urgent communication terminals based on their communications flow, then immediately assigns bandwidth and communication time (radio resources) to these terminals, rather than their less urgent counterparts. This helps to ensure that data transmission is complete within the 100 millisecond target time.

This technology has been tested in a simulated traffic environment where 100 automobiles and 100 pedestrians were using a variety of communication terminals, such as smartphones, while connected to an LTE radio base station. The testing verified that an automobile's communication delay could be shortened to 100 milliseconds or less and the rate of successful communication could reach 95 percent. This represents an improvement of more than five times over the conventional Proportional Fairness method of communications.

To contact the author of this article, email sue.himmelstein@ieeeglobalspec.com


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