A Hybrid Satellite-Cellular Communications Terminal for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

In a future with connected vehicles, the data traffic will be vast, and new network infrastructures and computing architectures will be needed for processing and storage.Vehicles will generate and consume data in various scenarios such as vehicle to everything (V2X), the vehicle as a living room for infotainment and e-commerce, and autonomous driving. To support these scenarios, reliable and ubiquitous connectivity is essential. A common approach to vehicle connectivity is to integrate modems and modules that interface with existing terrestrial networks, such as the 4th Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network or an emerging 5th Generation (5G) network. When coverage is sufficient, and the network is uncongested, performance is generally adequate. However, it is projected that by 2020 only 63% of the world’s population and 37% of the landmass will be covered by LTE.To achieve fully-global and high-throughput coverage, Kymeta proposes a hybrid connectivity solution whereby fixed terrestrial networks are supplemented with high-throughput satellite access technologies.
This white paper demonstrates the implementation and testing of a hybrid satellite-cellular terminal for connected and autonomous vehicles. The terminal design leverages recent advances in holographic and diffractive meta-surface antennas to implement an electronically scanned, high-gain satellite antenna that is commensurate with the size, weight, power, and cost requirements of the general consumer automobile. Kymeta demonstrates that with the proposed hybrid terminal the connected vehicle can maintain contact with the public data network through either the terrestrial cellular link, or the satellite link, with automatic switching and traffic shaping based on link performance metrics.

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