The WMG at the University of Warwick, with support from Rohde & Schwarz, is carrying out a research study exploring 5G automotive applications and the design of future vehicles in order to “acquire the knowledge needed for the UK’s automotive industry to ensure vehicles and networks can coexist and cooperate in the 5G world.”
Connected cars need a reliable and high-performing connection to benefit from the enhanced safety and convenience that 5G services can provide. 5G connectivity has the potential to aid future automotive design by creating new features, services and improved user experiences for drivers and passengers. Real-time communication can also enhance ADAS, incorporating information from infrastructure sensors, other vehicles and service providers.
Experts in WMG’s Communications and Connectivity group have been researching 5G applications for connected vehicles using Rohde & Schwarz test equipment. In 2019, the group installed Europe’s first over-the-air 5G test equipment at its Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) testbed for use in connected autonomous vehicles.
The group has now established a facility for channel sounding to analyze the behaviour of 5G signals in and around vehicles. The equipment enables them to set up transceiver pairs, including a vehicle-mounted set to emulate the equipment that it is expected will be fitted to future generations of connected cars, to measure the signal strength at various locations.
The equipment operates in 5G New Radio (NR) frequency range 1 (FR1) up to 6GHz and FR2, which includes all frequencies above 6GHz. The setup includes the SMW200A Vector Signal Generator, FSW85 Signal and Spectrum Analyzer and RTO2044 Digital Oscilloscope, acquired through the Rohde & Schwarz University Support Program.
The SMW200A enables the team to transmit frequency band limited signals with carrier frequency up to 40GHz and arbitrary modulated waveforms with clock frequencies up to 2.4GHz. The FSW85 and RTO2044 enable the processing of the received signals with a maximum sampling rate of 2.4 GHz.
“Automotive applications will operate in various bands in FR1 and FR2, up to very high, millimeter-wave, frequencies. We needed the multi-GHz capabilities provided by the Rohde & Schwarz equipment to get a proper understanding of the radio environment in and around the vehicle across the full radio spectrum,” explained Dr Matthew Higgins, reader of 5G Communications and leader of the research group at WMG.
“As well as having a wide frequency range, the instruments deliver outstanding low-noise performance and are extremely accurate and repeatable. That helps us set up experiments quickly and allows us to rely on our measurements as a true reference for subsequent analysis.”
Using this equipment, the channel sounding experiments aim to analyze effects such as excess path loss and delay spread that influence quality of service parameters like error vector magnitude (EVM) and data throughput that ultimately determine the end-user experience.