Nissan, Verizon Complete a Successful 5G-Powered Connected Vehicle Proof-of-Concept to Warn Drivers of Hazards Outside Their Line-of-Sight

Nissan, Verizon Complete a Successful 5G-Powered Connected Vehicle Proof-of-Concept to Warn Drivers of Hazards Outside Their Line-of-Sight

Author: Eric Walz   

In the near future, vehicles that support 5G connectivity will be able to communicate with other vehicles, traffic cameras and other roadside sensors to warn drivers of hazards, such as nearby pedestrians, bicyclists, or an object in the roadway that might be out of view of the driver. 

The technology can greatly increase safety, so automakers are working with telecommunication companies to test the technology in vehicles. The latest partnership is between Verizon and Japan's Nissan.

Verizon, Nissan's North America Research and Advanced Engineering team and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in California have announced the completion of a successful research proof-of-concept that demonstrates how vehicle sensor data and nearby infrastructure can be processed using Verizon's wireless network and communicated back to vehicles to notify drivers of hazards in near real time.

The CCTA works to plan, fund, and implement innovative transit programs in California to improve mobility.

The trial was conducted by Nissan's Silicon Valley-based Research and Advanced Engineering team. It used Nissan's proprietary telematics test platform to process sensor data from the vehicles and infrastructure and send urgent notifications to the driver.

"Making breakthroughs in products and technologies is a core piece of Nissan's business," said Maarten Sierhuis, Ph.D., vice president, Nissan Technical Center North America. "The successful development and pilot of this research technology reinforces our commitment to helping keep drivers and passengers safe and the future of mobility."

The technology being tested is referred to as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle to-infrastructure (V2I) and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communications. It allows vehicles to communicate with other nearby vehicles or with infrastructure such as traffic signals and cameras over low-latency cellular networks. 

C-V2X is designed to offer vehicles low-latency direct communications between other vehicles, roadside infrastructure and other road users without a cellular network subscription by operating in the designated 5.9 GHz spectrum. 

The tests successfully used C-V2X communication to notify Nissan drivers of vulnerable pedestrians or oncoming traffic emerging from areas that are visually obscured, such as intersections. 

Suppose a driver was approaching an intersection with a building on the corner that obscures the road and approaching traffic from the left. Using C-V2X communications technology, the vehicle approaching the intersection can communicate with a camera and receive a warning on the instructment cluster of approaching vehicles or bicyclists that may be out of the line of sight of the driver.

The trials in California tested a variety of vehicle-based and infrastructure-based sensor configurations to create a multi-view picture of potential safety hazards beyond vehicle and driver's line-of-sight. 


The test used Verizon's 5G Edge mobile edge computing platform with AWS Wavelength and sensor data from Nissan vehicles and nearby infrastructure. The data was then processed at the edge of Verizon's wireless network to reduce latency and communicated back via a cellular network to the vehicles in near real time. In the vehicles, Nissan's Intelligent Shared World platform delivered driver notifications on the instrument cluster. 

"Communication between vehicles and the environment around them, or C-V2X, will be one of the most important transportation innovations of the connected and autonomous future of driving," said TJ Fox, Senior Vice President of Industrial IoT and Automotive, Verizon Business. "This proof of concept shows that edge computing with Verizon's cellular network can help take the resource-intensive compute burden off vehicles and public infrastructure -- housing their software platforms and crunching their sensor data for them -- and can communicate data outward to prompt potentially lifesaving safety alerts or autonomous driving features in the car, all essentially in real time."

The next phase of the pilot, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) will validate the technology for its Automated Driving Systems Grant Program, which includes testing it in controlled public environments before a potential live deployment.

German automaker Audi launched a similar C-V2X program in Virginia last year in partnership with Qualcomm and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The aim of the pilot in Virginia was to improve road safety in work and construction zones. The worker wore special vests with built-in Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) communications technology that sent a warning to nearby Audi vehicles, which then alerted drivers to their presence.

C-V2X communications operate on the designated 5.9 GHz Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) spectrum that's been reallocated by the FCC specifically for connected vehicle technologies and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS).

For automakers like Nissan that are planning to add C-V2X communications technology to their vehicles, working with industry partners like Verizon is necessary, as the infrastructure to support advanced C-V2X communications needs to be in place and thoroughly tested before the vehicles are deployed. 

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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