Verizon and Honda work on 5G at Mcity

Companies team up with University of Michigan on mobile edge computing and 5G
Networking & Communication Systems / April 14, 2021
By Ben Spencer
Verizon Honda 5G MEC V2X C-V2X University of Michigan Mcity artificial intelligence
Verizon says 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC (© Melpomenem |

Verizon and Honda are investigating how 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) could ensure communication between road infrastructure, vehicles and pedestrians at the University of Michigan's Mcity.

Mcity is a test facility that brings together industry, government, and academia to advance transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility.

Verizon says its 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 and pedestrians to improve threat detection and avoid accidents.

The partners used Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband, MEC and Vehicle to Everything (V2X) software platforms to explore a scenario in an approaching driver was unable to see a pedestrian crossing an intersection due to a building obstructing the view. 

Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relayed information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon’s MEC and V2X software platforms detected the pedestrian and vehicle and determined the location of road users assisted by Verizon’s hyper precise location services. A visual warning message was then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.

Both companies carried out a separate scenario in which a driver was unable to see an emergency vehicle or hear its siren due to the high volume of an in-vehicle audio. 

Verizon’s MEC and V2X software received a safety message from the emergency vehicle and sent a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver received a visual warning.

Additionally, the partners explored a situation in which a vehicle failed to stop at a red light. The MEC and V2X software used data from the smart cameras to detect the vehicle and sent a red-light runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection. 

Verizon insists each scenario demonstrates the potential of 5G and MEC to communicate urgent safety messages between vehicles and infrastructure, reducing the need for complex computing onboard each connected vehicle.

In the future, this technology could help ensure autonomous vehicles are able to communicate. 

Since 2017, Honda has been developing a technology called Safe Swarm that uses cellular V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share information such as location, speed and vehicle sensor data. 

Verizon points out one limitation of this approach is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. 

According to Verizon, the use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

Ehsan Moradi Pari, Ph.D, research group lead at Honda’s Advanced Technology Research Division, describes the collaboration as an important step in a multi-year effort to develop connected vehicle safety technology. 

“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,” Pari says. 

Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of technology development and 5G labs at Verizon, says: “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.”

“When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers ‘see’ things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives,” Shamsunder adds. 

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