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Putting V2X Drive Tests in the Fast Lane


When innovation can’t slow down but safety is on the line, how do automotive manufacturers, device suppliers, and mobile network operators ensure these complex systems work as expected? Or conform to standards? This blog reveals how they can assure application performance and accelerate time-to-market.

Use cases for V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications are emerging as key differentiators for car manufacturers. A major automotive manufacturer recently stated that “brainlifts” will become more important than facelifts for new vehicles.

Once seemingly high-tech road safety applications are now becoming standard features in vehicles at all price ranges. Innovation on this front shows no signs of slowing as each new auto show intros more connectivity-driven features to entice buyers.

Management of these applications is calling for a sophisticated network that supports communications directly between vehicles and devices. Applications requiring broader reach communicate with the cellular network (C-V2X).

When innovation is moving ahead at high speed but safety is on the line, how do automotive manufacturers, device suppliers, and mobile network operators ensure these complex systems work as expected? Or conform to standards? How can they assure application performance?

The answers lie in rigorous V2X testing that can keep pace with changes racing through this industry.

Accelerating time-to-market with more lab testing

V2X applications have traditionally been tested via lab-based test bench solutions, followed by drive tests that determine responses in situations involving real-world conditions like traffic, pedestrians, and road signals. For example, testing helped verify whether the vehicle recognizes a safety situation and issues a warning to a driver within the required time, or if the network operator meets performance SLAs under high traffic loads.

The complexity of V2X applications and the significant number of resources (hardware, human etc.) they require has made field testing time-consuming and costly. To accelerate time-to-market, reduce costs, and create repeatable results, more automakers and the tech vendors that support them are turning to automated, comprehensive lab solutions to reduce the need for field drive tests.

The challenges of testing V2X in the lab

Car manufacturers and the suppliers they work with face challenges managing the volume and variety of technologies that must be tested in the lab. Further complicating the issue, is a network of GNSS systems, RF communications, electronics, and mechanical systems present within the car, as well as exchanging data with the outside world.

Suppliers testing products depend on the lab test platform to emulate positioning data, traffic simulations, and C-V2X messaging as per the regional stack, so they can concentrate on testing the automotive traffic scenarios. Test scenarios are run in the lab to identify issues, root cause of errors, and situations that need to be analyzed in advance of commercial deployment.

A lab test performs basic functions, such as:

  • Testing individual supplier units and the entire vehicle for conformance, functions, performance, and scalability

  • Integrating with different test products like GNSS, traffic simulators, and test automation frameworks

  • Testing Ethernet and CAN communications within the car

  • Providing ready-to-use test scenarios, including those defined by the various regional standards bodies

  • Customizing test scenarios based on the test device’s supported features

  • Automating processes for optimal productivity, cost savings, test repeatability, orchestration, and evaluation of results

Open APIs to simulators help reduce the need for V2X drive tests

Car manufacturers and suppliers use a variety of vehicle simulation tools, such as SUMO and IPG CM, to create realistic V2X environments like interactions with other vehicles and pedestrians. These simulations have traditionally been performed separately from lab capabilities that include GNSS/GPS route mapping and the CAN signals required by some devices.

To help speed up test cycles, Spirent has integrated vehicle simulation into the lab bench to enable comprehensive testing of real-life scenarios. The test platform provides open APIs to connect with widely used traffic simulators on the market.

V2X Virtual – AVW Warning Example

Car manufacturers can then load these scenarios onto the platform, orchestrate them as part of an overall test plan, and evaluate the responses. This enables engineers to test, validate, and benchmark connected vehicles and devices to verify that V2X technology implementations are compliant to the latest industry standards and work as expected under all possible conditions. Full test automation helps maximize efficiencies, reduce complexity, ensure repeatable results, and meet critical timing and safety requirements.

By bringing the field into the lab, expensive and time-consuming field testing can be scaled down and made more efficient and targeted.

Learn more about Spirent's comprehensive solutions for testing connected vehicles and V2X/C-V2X technologies.

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Bhargavi Srinivasan

Senior Product Manager, Cloud and IP

Bhargavi Srinivasan is a Senior Product Manager for Automotive Solutions in Spirent’s Cloud and IP business unit, where she focuses on automotive applications, particularly in the areas of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Autonomous Driving (AD), and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication. She is working on innovative test solutions that are influencing how the industry is testing V2X systems and enhancing the reliability and safety of autonomous driving technologies, to help autonomous driving become a reality.