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Integrated telecom service provider Vodafone Group Plc.  (VOD - Analyst Report) recently declared that it has commenced the initial assessment of vehicle-to-vehicle communications using the 4G extension LTE-V2X technology on a private test track in the UK. The company is arranging for further trials in Germany. The LTE-V2X technology basically enables vehicles to communicate with each another to help improve road safety and traffic efficiency.

The main purpose behind this trial is to deal with society's connected mobility and road safety needs. This will be achieved by upgrading the infrastructure required for connected automated driving, easy access to services and integration into smart cities and intelligent transportation with the help of LTE and 5G advancements.

What is LTE?

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is the next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards after the 4G/IMT standards based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies. The standard is generated by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) specifications. LTE is popularly known as 4G LTE in spite of the fact that it does not technically match 4G services.

LTE-V2X: Concept and Prospects

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle. It is a vehicular communication system which includes several other types of communication such as V2I (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure), V2V (Vehicle-to-vehicle), V2P (Vehicle-to-Pedestrian), V2D (Vehicle-to-device) and V2G (Vehicle-to-grid). Apart from various litigations, the roll-out of this technology will be incomplete until and unless it undergoes trial and fits into each vehicle available in the automotive industry.

LTE-V2X means connecting vehicles (V) to everything (X). The latest cars available in the market are equipped with multiple sensors and safety features such as automatic breaking, lane-tracking and blind-spot warning. However, LTE remains above all these already existing sensors in many connected cars in terms of the longer distances it can travel which the sensors are unable to. Vodafone has been working with industry partners for quite a long time to develop the LTE-V2X through the standards organization 3GPP, thus trying to be part of an intelligent transportation system (ITS).

The concept of ITS is to facilitate vehicles to communicate with each other and remain alert with the roadside infrastructure and surrounding environment. Any car equipped with ITS can inform other cars about its intention to change lane or to signal an emergency stop. Even, the vehicle can be pre-informed about the optimal driving speed they should maintain in order to avoid traffic. These are some of the facilities which the upgraded system is expected to deliver. These efforts to connect vehicles and infrastructure reflect the path to full automation of cars which is anticipated to arrive after 2020.

Recent Developments in 5G Automation

In Sep 2016, German car manufacturers – Audi, BMW and Daimler, announced their partnership with mobile telecommunication companies – Ericsson (ERIC - Analyst Report) , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, Intel Corporation (INTC - Analyst Report) , Nokia Corporation (NOK - Analyst Report) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM - Analyst Report)   to form the 5G Automotive Association. This tie-up marks the development of competent technology to meet the demands of the fast-paced automotive world where connections and communication play a major role.

Vodafone currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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