Verizon partners with Nissan to test car safety alerts on its edge network

Now, the Contra Costa County Transportation Authority (CCTA) in California will begin validating the technology and may deploy it around busy intersections.

Verizon on Thursday said it has completed a research proof-of-concept with Nissan, demonstrating how its edge network can be used to process data from cars and surrounding infrastructure and then send back safety warnings to vehicles in near real time. 

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The demos, completed with Nissan's Silicon Valley-based Research and Advanced Engineering team, tested different scenarios in which drivers could find it difficult to see nearby pedestrians or oncoming traffic emerging from behind visual obstructions. 

Now, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) in California will begin validating the technology for its Automated Driving Systems Grant Program. If it's validated, it could be deployed in Contra Costa County around busy intersections, retirement communities or other vulnerable areas. 

The trials tested a variety of different vehicle-based and infrastructure-based sensor configurations, giving a multi-viewpoint picture of potential safety hazards. Sensor data from Nissan vehicles and infrastructure was processed using Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength. The processed information was sent back, prompting Nissan's Intelligent Shared World platform to initiate driver notifications. 

"Communication between vehicles and the environment around them, or C-V2X, will be one of the most important transportation innovations of the connected and autonomous future of driving," TJ Fox, SVP of Industrial IoT and Automotive for Verizon Business, said in a statement. "This proof of concept shows that edge computing with Verizon's cellular network can help take the resource-intensive compute burden off vehicles and public infrastructure -- housing their software platforms and crunching their sensor data for them -- and can communicate data outward to prompt potentially lifesaving safety alerts or autonomous driving features in the car, all essentially in real time."

Verizon has partnered with other automotive companies, like startups Renovo and Savari, to test C-V2X. The move is in line with its larger 5G strategy -- melding 5G with edge computing and creating an ecosystem with tech giants such as AWS and Microsoft Azure.