The Future of Connected Car Vehicle-to-Everything with Savari, Inc.
By Lynn Walford
Savari, Inc. is at the crossroads of connected car deployment with hardware and software to enable Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Vehicle-to-Phone/Pedestrian (V2P) and Vehicle to just about everything (V2X). Ravi Puvvala, CEO of Savari talked to Automotive IT News about the future of smart cities and connected cars using V2X.
Ravi Puvvala, CEO, Savari, Inc.
“Cars are getting smarter. However, it would be better to have them communicate to each other to know what they are doing,” said Puvvala who notes that when cars become connected, we will be able to predict bottlenecks, improve traffic flow, and most importantly prevent accidents.
For example, although many cars are smart and a camera can see the car directly in front, it can’t see two cars ahead. Say, there are three cars, car-1, car-2, and car-3. Car-3 can see that car-2’s brakes are pushed but doesn't know when car-1’s brakes are pushed. With V2V all the cars in the row will know that car-1 is braking suddenly within milliseconds.
Currently, the deployment of vehicle to vehicle communication is very limited. For example, Tesla cars communicate only to each other over a cellular network. In the near future, Cadillac will have V2V communication between Cadillac vehicles only. There is no way for all cars to tell each other what is happening. The best case scenario is when all cars can talk to each other and to the city.
Savari makes devices to put in the car, devices to put on the roadway to enable cars can talk to cars and so forth. The company recently announced its next generation of MobiWAVE On-Board Units (OBUs), StreetWAVE Road-Side Units (RSUs) and V2X middleware.
Puvvala envisions infrastructure in which all cars can talk to each other as well as talk to pedestrians and city transportation systems. He hopes that chipmakers incorporate the protocol for DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communications at 5.8 GHz) the bandwidth set aside for vehicles in all their chipset. Then vehicle communication could become ubiquitous. We would have the ability for cars to talk to each other and also to pedestrians with smartphones as well as drivers in their cars. All the different devices involved in transportation could communicate to each other through an open protocol.
The FCC is deciding right now if or how the DSRC spectrum will be shared with Wi-Fi. Whatever is decided, if the chips can become ubiquitous, connected automotive safety would be much easier to implement, noted Puvvala.
Puvvala explained how present transit systems work in most cities. The municipality collects data through counting vehicles at intersections and other data from sensors. When there is a problem on a road, it usually takes twenty minutes before that information gets posted to a sign on the highway or to 511 call information centers. In the future when cars talk to each other, the time delay can be next to nothing. Puvvala says he uses Waze himself because the information is closer to real-time.
Previously, Puvvala worked at Atheros Communications developing and testing DSRC technology. Automakers and car suppliers were coming to the chipmaker and saying “We want a chipset that can do this.” Puvvala realized early on that DSRC and V2X was going to be important and then founded Savari in 2008.
Savari offers devices as well as middleware and an SDK that allows automakers, Tier 1 auto suppliers, and municipalities to develop software applications. To help create new use case scenarios, Savari has partnered with cities, government agencies and universities.
Savari is working with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to research how the technology could be deployed. University professors were given grants to study the architecture.
Savari is part of the CV Pilot Deployment Program initiatives sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program goal is testing and deploying connected vehicle technologies in physical, real-world environments where V2X systems’ data is analyzed for improving real-time traffic flow for planning transportation infrastructure investments.
The city of Sunnyvale is a real-world V2X test bed, using Savari solutions to connect data to lights and the city for safety, traffic management and possibly self-driving cars in the future. In fact, Savari is currently involved in 18 projects in the U.S including supporting the Smart City Challenge winner, Columbus, Ohio. On Thursday, the city won $40 million from the US Department of Transportation along with another $10 million from Vulcan Inc. to incorporate electric vehicle infrastructure with support from Honda that has a factory nearby.
“Savari is dedicated to developing connected and automated car and smart city technologies with the goal of dramatically improving roadway safety, and we have pledged to provide these enabling technologies to the city of Columbus,” said Puvvala, “We are looking forward to working with the city and its partners to deploy our latest technology and help make the promise of smart cities a reality.”