Testing the connected car

Before in-vehicle wireless communications technology can be mass manufactured it must undergo rigorous testing. To mitigate this time-heavy expense automotive manufacturers can learn from the mobile comms sector, explains Sarabjit Singh.

Automotive manufacturers are equipping new vehicles with multiple wireless systems, leading to increased testing complexity and potentially more complicated, expensive and time-consuming test procedures. To address these challenges developers of new designs can benefit from adopting test methodologies used already by the mobile industry, including virtual drive testing, over-the-air antenna performance testing, interoperability and WLAN testing.

The connected car needs to integrate several cellular generations (2G, 3G and 4G) along with satellite communications technologies for navigation (e.g. GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou) and future wireless technologies for V2X (vehicle-to-everything, e.g. IEEE 802.11p). The introduction of these wireless technologies is leading to an increased level of complexity and a challenging radio environment, which automotive manufacturers have to address through rigorous testing to meet or even exceed end users’ expectations.

The fact that vehicles move at different speeds, directions and in different environments (e.g. rural or urban) leads to a large number of mobility and propagation scenarios. Developers need to take into account numerous fading profiles that present varying degrees of radio interference. It is well-known that testing car prototypes in the field to establish consistent performance across various local radio frequency environments can be both expensive and time-consuming.

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