Honda teams up with Verizon to tackle edge computing challenges

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Through a partnership with the University of Michigan’s Mcity, a testbed for connected and autonomous vehicles, Honda and Verizon say they are teaming up to research how new connected safety technology using 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) could ensure fast, reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles and pedestrians sharing the road.

Super-fast, reliable, low-latency data transmission at the edge of the network is essential for connected vehicle safety. According to Honda, Verizon’s 5G and MEC platforms bring the power of the cloud closer to the vehicle, lowering latency, offering massive bandwidth and improving communications and connectivity between drivers, other cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most.

“Honda’s research collaboration with Verizon is an important step in our multi-year effort to develop connected vehicle safety technology to realize our vision for a collision-free society,” said Ehsan Moradi Pari, PhD, research group lead in Honda’s Advanced Technology Research division. “While the research is preliminary and not intended as a product feature at this time, 5G-enabled vehicle communication and MEC have the potential to advance safety for everyone sharing the road.”

“The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights,” added Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of technology development and 5G labs at Verizon.

Using Verizon’s 5G ultra-wideband, MEC and V2X software platforms, Honda and Verizon explored three safety scenarios:

  • Pedestrian scenario: A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon’s MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users, assisted by Verizon’s Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent, alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency vehicle warning scenario: A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon’s MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  •  Red-light-runner scenario: A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

Honda states that each research scenario demonstrates the potential of 5G and MEC to communicate urgent safety messages between vehicles and infrastructure, reducing the need for complex computing on board each connected vehicle. In the future, this connected vehicle technology could help ensure that autonomous vehicles will be able to communicate seamlessly.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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