Measurement Based Channel Characterization and Modeling for Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications

University dissertation from Department of Electrical and Information Technology, Lund University

Abstract: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication is a challenging but fast growing technology that has potential to enhance traffic safety and efficiency. It can also provide environmental benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption. The effectiveness and reliability of these applications highly depends on the quality of the V2V communication link, which rely upon the properties of the propagation channel. Therefore, understanding the properties of the propagation channel becomes extremely important. This thesis aims to fill some gaps of knowledge in V2V channel research by addressing four different topics. The first topic is channel characterization of some important safety critical scenarios (papers I and II). Second, is the accuracy or validation study of existing channel models for these safety critical scenarios (papers III and IV). Third, is about channel modeling (paper V) and, the fourth topic is the impact of antenna placement on vehicles and the possible diversity gains. This thesis consists of an introduction and six papers:

Paper I presents a double directional analysis of vehicular channels based on channel measurement data. Using SAGE, a high-resolution algorithm for parameter estimation, we estimate channel parameters to identify underlying propagation mechanisms. It is found that, single-bounce reflections from static objects are dominating propagation mechanisms in the absence of line-of-sight (LOS). Directional spread is observed to be high, which encourages the use of diversity-based methods.

Paper II presents results for V2V channel characterization based on channel measurements conducted for merging lanes on highway, and four-way street intersection scenarios. It is found that the merging lane scenario has the worst propagation condition due to lack of scatterers. Signal reception is possible only with the present LOS component given that the antenna has a good gain in the direction of LOS. Thus designing an antenna that has an omni-directional gain, or using multiple antennas that radiate towards different directions become more important for such safety critical scenarios.

Paper III presents the results of an accuracy study of a deterministic ray tracing channel model for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, that is compared against channel measurement data. It is found that the results from measurement and simulation show a good agreement especially in LOS situations where as in NLOS situations the simulations are accurate as far as existing physical phenomena of wave propagation are captured by the implemented algorithm.

Paper IV presents the results of a validation study of a stochastic NLOS pathloss and fading model named VirtualSource11p for V2V communication in urban street intersections. The reference model is validated with the help of independent channel measurement data. It is found that the model is flexible and fits well to most of the measurements with a few exceptions, and we propose minor modifications to the model for increased accuracy.

Paper V presents a shadow fading model targeting system simulations based on channel measurements. The model parameters are extracted from measurement data, which is separated into three categories; line-of-sight (LOS), LOS obstructed by vehicles (OLOS), and LOS blocked by buildings (NLOS), with the help of video information recorded during the measurements. It is found that vehicles obstructing the LOS induce an additional attenuation in the received signal power. The results from system level vehicular ad hoc network (VANET) simulations are also presented, showing that the LOS obstruction affects the packet reception probability and this can not be ignored.

Paper VI investigates the impact of antenna placement based on channel measurements performed with four omni-directional antennas mounted on the roof, bumper, windscreen and left-side mirror of the transmitter and receiver cars. We use diversity combining methods to evaluate the performance differences for all possible single-input single-output (SIMO), multiple-input single-output (MISO) and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) link combinations. This investigation suggests that a pair of antennas with complementary properties, e.g., a roof mounted antenna together with a bumper antenna is a good solution for obtaining the best reception performance, in most of the propagation environments.

In summary, this thesis describes the channel behavior for safety-critical scenarios by statistical means and models it so that the system performance can be assessed in a realistic manner. In addition to that the influence of different antenna arrangements has also been studied to exploit the spatial diversity and to mitigate the shadowing effects. The presented work can thus enable more efficient design of future V2V communication systems.