red lights in traffic

Verizon and Cisco have completed what they say was a successful cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) proof of concept (POC) demonstration in Las Vegas that could make autonomous vehicles and related activities cheaper, safer and more efficient.

The POC included Verizon’s mobile edge computing (MEC), 5G and LTE cellular technology and Cisco’s industrial IoT networking technology.

To date, autonomous vehicles have relied on roadside radios to provide the necessary low latency performance for links between each other and connected infrastructure. The POC verified that the necessary low latency performance is possible using virtualized roadside units created by the carrier’s LTE and edge compute capabilities, Verizon said. That virtualized element was combined with Verizon’s public 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength and Cisco Catalyst IR1101 routers in the POC.

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Verizon says that the new approach can be faster, more reliable and more “streamlined” than the approaches used to date. The virtualization of the roadside units will enable this to be achieved at a lower cost than in non-virtualized scenarios, the company says.

Autonomous vehicles must be capable of navigating complex and crowded environments. Since public safety is involved, there is no room for error. Verizon says that the new approach could benefit applications involving last-mile delivery bots, robotaxis, on and off-ramp safety and other applications that use vehicle-to-everything communications.

“This test is a huge milestone in proving that the future of connectivity for IoT applications can be powered by cellular,” Krishna Iyer, Verizon’s Director of Systems Architecture said in a press release about the Verizon C-V2X demonstration. “We’re marking the strength of mobile edge compute platforms for connected transportation innovation with much more streamlined architecture. Together with Cisco technologies, we’re setting the foundation potentially to realize a ubiquitous IoT in the connected and autonomous future of driving.”

This isn’t the first technology that Verizon has developed to support autonomous vehicles.

In April 2021, Verizon Business introduced the Verizon Hyper Precise Location service, which provides a stream of real-time data that enables location accuracy within one to two centimeters. Autonomous vehicles are one of the use cases for the service, which is available via Verizon ThingSpace, the company’s IoT developer platform.

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