By: Sungsoo Hong, Ettifos Chief Marketing Officer
"Let’s end the C-ITS communication debate in Korea and move forward with 5G-V2X."
The core of the Cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) business is vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology.
V2X is a wireless communication technology that allows vehicles to connect and communicate with one another, as well as with roadside infrastructure and other road users. It is essential for road safety and for enabling level 4 and above advanced autonomous driving.
In South Korea, C-ITS projects have been temporarily suspended due to disagreements between government departments regarding the choice of V2X communication methods.
As a result, small and medium-sized enterprises that have trusted government policies and invested in equipment and technology development for several years are facing difficulties and some are even pulling out of the C-ITS business.
South Korea's V2X industry competitiveness, which takes pride in its communication capabilities, is at risk of falling behind in the global market.
In contrast, the United States, after prolonged debates over communication methods, ultimately decided on the cellular method (C-V2X) in 2021 and started substantial investments in road infrastructure based on cellular technology. They have even presented a roadmap to introduce 5G-V2X by 2028.
In Europe, on October 3rd, the European Parliament voted to approve the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Directive Revision for a move towards large-scale deployment across the European Union.*
The directive provides a legal framework for conducting C-ITS projects regardless of the communication method, as long as certain requirements are met. Companies and organizations like 5GAA are rushing to introduce 5G-V2X in response to this momentum.
From the start, under the lead of the Chinese government, China has chosen to use the cellular method (C-V2X) and has been continuously building infrastructure and accumulating data to become a leader in the C-ITS area.
What is worth noting is that other countries have overcome the V2X communication method debate and made their policy clear.
In other words, government authorities have created an environment where companies will devote themselves to continuous investment and technology development by sending consistent signals to the market.
It is time for South Korea to end the debate on V2X communication methods and restore the ecosystem.
As a professional working in the struggling V2X industry, I welcome the decision of the Korean C-ITS Standardization Expert Committee to determine a single standard by the end of the year.
In this regard, I strongly urge the committee with the following points:
1. First and foremost, the key focus should be on service, not the communication method. The communication method is merely a means to enhance safety and convenience for road users and realize fully autonomous driving. No matter the communication method, it is imperative to just introduce one that has been validated for safety first, and provide services that the public can experience. I hope for the swift deployment of C-ITS services upon the selection of one V2X communication method.
2. If the cellular method (C-V2X) is chosen, a roadmap for the implementation of the next-generation 5G-V2X should be provided too. LTE-V2X is primarily for basic safety-focused day-1 services, and 5G-V2X is essential for advanced services like autonomous driving. China, the United States, and the EU all have roadmaps for 5G-V2X. To strengthen South Korea's V2X competitiveness, the roadmap should include the rapid transition to 5G-V2X after deploying the basic safety services based on LTE-V2X.
3. Measures to prevent redundant investments are necessary. DSRC and C-V2X are not compatible with each other. Changing the communication method requires equipment replacement, leading to the issue of redundant investments.
Even within C-V2X, LTE-V2X and 5G-V2X are not backward compatible because 5G-V2X is a different technology developed to overcome the limitations of LTE-V2X. That means the problem of having to replace equipment still exists during the transition from LTE-V2X to 5G-V2X.
Therefore, it is necessary to have a transition plan through software upgrades without equipment replacement even as communication standards evolve.
I hope that the committee will put an end to the long-standing debates and lay the foundation for strengthening South Korea’s technology and industrial competitiveness.
*On October 23rd, the Council formally adopted the ITS Directive Revision.
This article was originally published in Korean here and has been translated by Ettifos to retain accuracy.