We are announcing at MWC Shanghai 2019 a collaboration with Unex, a Taiwanese company that specializes in V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything), and recommend their SOM-301 System-on-Module for our Telemaco3P Modular Telematics Platform (TC3P-MTP). It was essential for us to ensure that engineers and developers looking to create a comprehensive and compliant V2X application know what to get to save time and focus on building their best product. The modularity of our TC3P-MTP system means that designers can, in principle, add any Wi-Fi, modem, or V2X expansion cards, thanks to one of our three expansion ports, and start prototyping their future system. However, this approach demands that all components interact appropriately with one another and that the applications meet the stringent requirements of the various specifications guaranteeing the safety, security, efficiency, and interoperability of the vehicles on the road.
TC3P-MTP is the development platform for our Telemaco3P (STA1385) System-on-Chip for automotive. Among many other things, the component offers an ample computational headroom thanks to two Cortex-A7 running at up to 600 MHz, and it protects users against cyber attacks with its Hardware Security Module. Thanks to the TC3P-MTP, engineers can start prototyping quicker and reduce the complexities inherent to the design of a custom PCB.
We also encounter a similar philosophy with the SOM-301 SoM since it is production ready and comes to engineers with a complete package containing hardware and software. Teams have the assurance that the Unex hardware they are working on can easily transfer to the final design that will integrate vehicles. Moreover, the module rests on the CRATON2 processor and PLUTON2 wireless chipset that we manufacture in cooperation with Autotalks. Let’s, therefore, delve into the hardware and software advantages of using the TC3P-MTP and the SOM-301 together.
DSRC vs. C-V2X
One of the most unique aspects of the SOM-301 is its compatibility with DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communications) and Cellular V2X (C-V2X). In recent years, V2X diverged into two different technologies, DSRC and C-V2X, with fundamentally different architectures, making it difficult to harmonize a single global solution. Both technologies are designed for safety by providing a framework for direct communication between vehicles, infrastructure, and other road users.
The deployment of DSRC/ITS-G5 equipment started more than a decade ago, meaning that the standard is already present in the United States, Japan, Korea, and Europe, and the European Commission is strongly pushing for its adoption, as is evident by a Delegated Regulation issued on March 2019 that supplemented a directive from the European Parliament in the hope of accelerating its adoption. The Delegated Regulation is expected to become binding in early July. On the other hand, C-V2X has been gaining momentum in China and with certain American and European companies.
Hardware Advantage: DSRC and C-V2X Compatibility
Car manufacturers are thus facing a Cornelian dilemma. It is imperative to start working on V2X now to avoid falling behind the rest of the competition. Designing systems for automobiles takes a long time and delaying V2X adoption will quickly be synonymous with losses of market share. However, the standard war is real and can mean teams may be uncertain about what technology to adopt. However, Adopting the SOM-301 completely circumvents this challenge because it is compatible with both C-V2X and DSRC, meaning that car manufacturers can choose the standard that makes sense for their region, and serve all markets without needing a different V2X module.
Hardware Advantage: Sensor Fusion and Security Compliance
The SOM-301 uses a mPCIe form factor and one of its pins for power but relies on the USB interface of the Telemaco3P processor for data transfer. In fact, the ST processor can gather data from various sensors, the cellular modem, and the SOM-301 to fuse all data and provide more accurate information and services. It’s a fundamental aspect of the application as V2X must efficiently and precisely inform the driver, but also surrounding vehicles and infrastructure, which requires the processing of substantial amount of data from the car and numerous external sources. Unex also uses a CRATON2 processor with embedded V2X security, so engineers get all the security features necessary to meet the drastically stringent specifications of V2X standards.
Software Advantage: V2Xcast® Service Image
To take advantage of sensor fusion or the hardware security features available, Unex offers V2Xcast Service Image, a software layer that resides on the SOM-301. It implements all these features so designers can just select the channel numbers, message type, or activate the security functionalities pertinent for their market and get their system running much more rapidly. The V2Xcast Service Image even implements the communication protocol stacks, including IEEE 1609 WAVE for US or ITS-G5 GN, BTP for Europe. Unex is thus offering a way to massively shorten development time by enabling developers to focus on developing the software application rather than creating it from scratch only to realize that certain aspects of their work didn’t meet some arcane regional compliance rule.
Software Advantage: V2Xcast SDK
Unex also offers a V2Xcast software development kit (SDK) to enable developers to more easily take advantage of the features and protocols available on the module. When customers get their tool, they also get example calls to the APIs so they can start writing their application to take advantage of the sensor fusion features of the Telemaco3P or perform V2X operations, among many other things. And since the APIs are in C, the standard when dealing with such applications, it further increases the solution’s accessibility. ST also chose Unex as a collaborator because it’s one of the rare V2X actors today that offers a license for the hardware and the software in one bundle. Traditionally, engineers have to get a separate license for each. With Unex, there are no additional royalty fees and the licensing is much simpler.