According to Counterpoint Technology Market Research Ltd., the number of connected cars with built-in connectivity expected to ship between 2018 and 2022 will reach 125 million units. Connected technology brings new functions and performance to vehicles and forms a key base for delivering new services and business. For example, connected technology has a major impact on remote monitoring of vehicle status as well as on function updates using wireless communications (OTA updates) to provide new services. Additionally, roll-out of commercial 5G services will drastically strengthen connectivity.
On the other hand, incorporation of various wireless communications technologies, including 5G, increases the complexity of the communications environment as well as the likelihood of radio interference. Increasing the number of network-connected onboard systems also greatly increases the risk of hacking threats to safety. Automobile manufacturers are facing new cybersecurity problems, making support for both rapid threat response and specialist communications technologies more important than ever before.
Implementing intelligent transport systems using vehicle to vehicle/people/roadside network (V2X) services, etc., will, for example, help assure the safety and security of people and property by providing emergency responders to an automobile accident with easy access to the latest regional maps and visual data via video streaming services and web data. The communications technologies and protocols related to wireless communications supporting the ‘connected car’ cover many fields and are increasing in complexity as represented by the appearance of new automobile wireless standards, such as eCall.
Telematics system development engineers developing and evaluating these wireless communications technologies are suffering from increasing daily workloads which slows deployment and time to market.
Issues in Connected Car Wireless Communications Tests
Telematics service technologies using the latest advances in cellular communications are being developed worldwide with a central focus on the ‘connected car’.
Telematics is based on using cellular protocols supporting data exchange and calls between in-vehicle wireless equipment and terminals, as well as IP networks offering various services.
Evaluation of telematics systems is based on laboratory simulation of actual communications networks.
Laboratory Simulation of Cellular Protocols and IP Networks for Evaluating Telematics Systems
Development and evaluation of telematics systems requires implementing every possible laboratory test prior to full-scale field testing, as well as troubleshooting issues to maximize efficiency and cut wasted time at later field testing. This helps improve the quality of telematics systems as well as reduce overall costs.
These goals are achieved by configuring various cellular protocol environments in the laboratory to evaluate the telematics system at each development stage. The cellular protocol evaluation environment configuration uses a so-called signalling tester to reproduce and measure various communications conditions between the wireless base station and wireless terminal, but the following issues must be solved to implement a cellular protocol and IP network evaluation environment in the laboratory.
Issue 1. Creating Test Scenarios
Generally, the laboratory cellular protocol evaluation environment is created using test scenarios provided by the wireless measuring instrument vendor. The scenarios are programmed manually (in a programming language) to run the tests. However, test scenario creation is difficult and requires specialist knowledge of cellular protocols.
Issue 2. Verifying Connection with Service Server using IP Network Connection Test
Evaluating the telematics system onboard wireless and dashboard equipment, such as the TCU, before full-scale commercial release requires a test environment as close as possible to the actual operating environment. Consequently, in addition to the cellular protocols, there is a strong requirement for quality verification tests in line with actual service and use cases, including IP network connections to test servers and actual servers.
Solving these issues increases the efficiency of telematics system development and evaluation and helps cut workloads.
Mandatory eCall, ERA-GLONASS
Typical telematics services like eCall and ERA-GLONASS use communications services to help protect life and property, making assured communications a key issue. These services offer rapid response assistance at auto accidents by using cellular networks; in Europe, all new vehicles sold from April 2018 will be fitted with eCall communications equipment while ERA-GLONASS will be fitted to all new vehicles sold in Russia from January 2017.
eCall, ERA-GLONASS Communications Cellular Protocol Evaluation Environment Configuration
Evaluation of eCall communications modules and vehicles with installed equipment requires testing using the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) test case, which requires test data that can be handled by the test case. Similarly, evaluation of ERA-GLONASS communications modules and vehicle installations requires GOST R 55530 certification testing in accordance with the Russian government ERA-GLONASS standard. Evaluation and certification of eCall and ERA-GLONASS communications modules and system operation requires configuration of a cellular protocol evaluation environment following these dedicated test cases and is a key part of each development stage.
The Signalling Tester MD8475A supports the ETSI eCall EN 16454 conformance standard and the Russian emergency response system ERA-GLONASS GOST R 55530 standard. Measurement of both these systems can be automated, helping cut the time required for user measurement. Moreover, the MD8475A supports pre-testing according to the ERA-GLONASS standard under the same test environment as used by certification standards organizations as mandated for Russian government approved testing bodies. Evaluation is implemented using these eCall and ERA-GLONASS test cases, which return OK or NG evaluation results based on the standards and helps prevent increasing evaluation costs at subsequent regression testing.
Madhukar Tripathi is working with Anritsu India Pvt Ltd as Head- Optical Business and Marketing. He holds M. Sc. Electronics from Dr. RML Awadh University & have more than 20 years’ experience in Test and Measurement (T&M) industry. His major experience is in telecom T&M alongwith Data Acquisition, NV, Analytical, Environmental instrument for some time.
Published in Telematics Wire