Applying V2X technology to drones

October 06, 2017 // By Derek Tang, NXP
Drones have emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for a unique ecosystem of electronics. Drones need to navigate their environments and as a result will benefit from technologies that help them find their way and avoid danger. Fortunately, this technology already exists in different yet related technology areas. V2X (vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure) communication using IEEE802.11p is a technology used to improve traffic safety and efficiency. This paper outlines how drone products can benefit from V2X technology. It will help drones address existing challenges such as video streaming, as well as new features, such as real-time air space management and collision avoidance.


Drone have captured the imagination of the public both for its novelty and the clear potential to simplify and enhance our lives. The drone market is expected to grow in the coming years. The global commercial drone market size was estimated to be USD 552 million in 2014 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.9% over the forecast period.

Figure 1 U.S. commercial drone market, by application, 2012 - 2022 (USD Million)

V2X is a technology that aims to improve traffic safety and efficiency. A typical use case is forward collision warning. When a vehicle emergency brakes, aV2X system receives the car’s messages, issues a warning, preloads the brakes to slow down. This requires the V2X system to provide reliable communication at high travel speed. And to give drivers sufficient response time, it also must be low latency and cover a long range. These are similar to the requirements for Drone communications, making it a promising candidate for technology transfer.

Figure 2 Artist impression on communicating vehiclesÜberschrift


2.Video streaming by IEEE802.11p

In China alone, there were more than 400 drone companies in 2015. In this fast-growing market, it is important for drones to differentiate themselves. To differentiate, DJI has developed a video transmission system Lightbridge that has led to the success of its Phantom series.

2.1 Current technologies for video streaming

We can classify current technologies in the following four categories: 

  1. Analog video transmission

Analog video transmission systems have bigger size and consume more power to reach the same distance compared with digital. Another weakness is its poor resistance to interference. Therefore, analog has been replaced by digital systems in most products. However, its low latency characteristic still makes it popular among drone racers who want real time video displays with zero latency.

  1. Wi-Fi

After analog systems, Wi-Fi has become the most popular solution. It provides enough data throughput and is offered at a very

Design category: