The Three Phases of Growth in Cooperative Mobility

Cooperative mobility is set to be propelled by the mass adoption of Long-Term Evolution (LTE Uu) vehicle connections and investment in roadside infrastructure connectivity. It refers to a scenario where all traffic agents (vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) communicate with each other and with the infrastructure, making transportation more efficient and safer.

Shipments of vehicles that can communicate with LTE networks and road traffic agents will reach 62 million by the end of 2020 and over 97 million in 2024, primarily in three phases.

Phase 1

In phase 1, awareness and environmental situation notification services are used to distribute vehicle status information and the existence of dangerous situations, primarily through a traditional cellular connection, Vehicle-to-Network (V2N). Although widely available, V2N is susceptible to higher latency and limited reliability, making it better suited to non-mission-critical applications. However, use cases such as Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) and Intersection Collision Warning can add value to safety and traffic efficiency, reducing the number of road incidents.

With over 98% of shipments this year having phase 1 implementation in place, this presents an immediate potential monetization opportunity for players, but few OEMs offer V2N services to its drivers. The business model is also hindered by a scarcity of infrastructure, and OEMs' lack of experience in software development. OEMs currently offer expensive and unintuitive services with a slow time-to-market. They are finding that drivers will not subscribe to services that cannot provide value, while free apps such as Waze remain popular. 

Phase 2

In this phase, vehicles are equipped with short-distance device-to-device (D2D) communication and can share messages about the sensed environment and detected objects or obstacles, such as pedestrians, intersections, and cyclists around hidden corners outside their line of sight. Lower latency and increased reliability will provide added safety to these vehicles as well, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimating a future 13% reduction in traffic accidents.

However, predominantly as a short-range technology, V2X requires high market adoption to reach full potential, which will take several years. Therefore, it is imperative that OEMs collaborate with municipal, city or transport authorities to advance the build-out of roadside communicating infrastructure, allowing those vehicles equipped with V2X to immediately see a benefit from the technology. These actors are more likely to engage in considerable infrastructure investments if OEMs commit to deploy V2X at low or no cost in the early years. For now, deployment will be scant in 2021, with an increase to nearly 4 million shipments in 2021. 

Phase 3

A phase 3 deployment will merge long- and short-distance communication standards, providing coordinated driving, cooperative perception, and limited introduction of automated driving capabilities. Vehicles will also share information concerning a planned route and maneuver interactions with pedestrians as well as infrastructure and other vehicles. 

Communication using 5G will allow the introduction of autonomous vehicles (level 3 and 4) and services including cooperative perception and sensor data sharing. However, these use cases will only be feasible in the long term, requiring considerable infrastructure development. Vehicles able to communicate to cellular networks and directly to other devices via 5G will not emerge as a force until 2027, when shipments will hit 16.3 million.

Vehicles are increasingly connected and will soon interact with each other and the road infrastructure, allowing road users and traffic managers to share information and coordinate their actions in a cooperative manner. This will result in improved road safety, traffic efficiency, faster driver decision-making processes, and improved safety of automated cars that can be integrated with the overall transport system. Therefore, cooperation, connectivity, and automation are complementary technologies that will always reinforce each other.

For added coverage on active safety, autonomous driving, and other smart mobility industry trends, subscribe to ABI Research's Smart Mobility & Automotive research service.