Qualcomm and Ford made a joint announcement at CES 2018, that the pair were working on a new vehicle-based communication method called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything. The goal, essentially, is to have vehicles communicate with smart infrastructure, other vehicles, and pedestrians' cellular devices, all without the use of a wider cellular network or subscription. Rather than using an established cellular network, the technology proposes to use the same underlying cellular technologies for device to device communication, similar to cellular communication standards in the Internet of Things field. Initial trials have been announced in San Diego, California and Detroit, Michigan, and will continue all through the first half of 2018. If those trials are successful, Ford will begin to integrate the technology into its vehicle lineup going forward, and the tech will be opened up for possible adoption by other automakers.
The technology is meant to not only make driving safer in the current world, but to encourage the development of smart cities and foster a steady transition from human-driven vehicles to fully self-driving vehicles on public roads. According to Qualcomm's press release on the matter, forthcoming C-V2X vehicles will be made with a future 5G rollout in mind, allowing them access to enhanced functionality once robust 5G networks begin to roll out. Naturally, this also means that 5G-powered devices and infrastructure will be able to communicate with C-V2X vehicles in the same way that LTE-based devices will at launch.
Qualcomm's collaboration with Ford is not limited to getting vehicles into the IoT sphere – the company will also be working with Ford to develop connected vehicle and infotainment platforms backed by Qualcomm's Snapdragon lineup of chipsets and LTE modems, similar to the arrangement that it just announced with Jaguar Land Rover. These efforts will also include a vehicle telematics platform, built to enhance navigation, fleet management, emergency assistance, vehicle issue diagnosis, and other functions that exist at the intersection of wireless and vehicular technologies. Qualcomm's Vice President of Product Management, Nakul Duggal, openly said that the company believes in connectivity as the next frontier for innovation in the automotive space, and that this effort is only the beginning of Qualcomm's push to integrate connectivity into a wide range of production vehicles.