Qualcomm helps Mercedes F1 speed communications

Qualcomm is helping Mercedes with race-day communications

Qualcomm and the Mercedes Formula One team have extended their long-standing partnership in developing and testing high-speed wireless communications, as well as the wireless transfer of power for Formula One.

Planned tests will leverage connected car technologies, such as 802.11ac wifi, 802.11ad wifi, 5G New Radio (NR), cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) and Qualcomm WiPower wireless charging, on the track.

Expanding beyond the initial tests using 5GHz 802.11ac wifi technology in 2015, Qualcomm and Mercedes-AMG Motorsports continued to work together in 2016 to test high-speed wireless download of vehicle data using 802.11ad wifi in the 60GHz band. During the field trials, race engineers used both technologies to gather data directly from the team's race cars while in the pit and garage.

Using the 60GHz band, the team has been able to show real-world throughputs of 1.5Gbit/s, which is 3.5 times faster than performance results previously achieved with 5GHz. In addition, lab testing using both 5 and 60GHz simultaneously indicates that throughputs close to 2Gbit/s can be achieved, resulting in four to five times improvements in speed from previous implementations.

This work continues to showcase significant improvements from the previous wired data offload system, which required a plug-in connection from the car to computers in the pit garage. Test results also validate how quickly and efficiently data can be pulled from the vehicle, as well as to help evaluate vehicle performance under extreme race conditions.

"Qualcomm Technologies has been delivering wireless communications, including cellular, wifi and Bluetooth to the automotive industry for over a decade," said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm. "Working closely with Mercedes, Qualcomm Technologies has been able to fine-tune and advance our technologies under the extreme conditions of a race track to deliver the most cutting-edge solutions for advanced vehicle applications."

Qualcomm will continue to evaluate performance increases in the 60 and 5GHz off-load programmes, as well as explore new technologies to make it possible for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport to send data straight to their race engineers without making a pit stop by using emerging 5G wireless and C-V2X technologies.

In addition to the wireless transfer of data, Qualcomm and Mercedes will collaborate on testing the wireless transfer of power using a WiPower interface. Evaluating various difficult-to-access interfaces on the vehicle, the teams intend to replace physical connectors with wireless power interfaces, thus enabling rapid dismantling and reassembly of vehicle parts during complex repair resulting from on track incidents.

"Winning in Formula One means working with the best in order to innovate in every area, and this is what our partnership with Qualcomm Technologies brings us," said Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "Not only have we worked to develop solutions for the track, which give us a competitive advantage each race weekend, but these projects serve as a laboratory for cutting-edge solutions that will make their way into automotive applications in the near future. It's the perfect demonstration of how the high-tech environment of Formula One can accelerate the development of technologies with applications a long way beyond racing."




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