Design and Verification of a Virtual Drive Test Methodology for Vehicular LTE-A Applications

Jue Cao, Di Kong, Michael Charitos, Denys Berkovskyy, Angelos Goulianos, Tom Mizutani, Fai Tila, Geoffrey Hilton, Angela Doufexi, Andrew Nix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
562 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, a Virtual Drive Test (VDT) emulation methodology for Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) LTE-A communications is proposed, evaluated and compared against a traditional drive test approach. A generic antenna and radio test process is developed based on 3D ray traced channel models, theoretic and measured antenna patterns, RF channel emulation and Hardware In the Loop (HIL) radio measurements. The spatial and temporal multipath components of the radio propagation channel between the MIMO enabled LTE-A Base Stations (BS) and the vehicle under test are accurately modeled for a site-specific virtual environment. Measured BS and LTE-A vehicular antenna patterns are incorporated into the system via spatial and polarimetric convolution with the synthetic ray data. The resulting channels are streamed into a wideband channel emulator that Radio Frequency (RF) connects a multi-channel LTE-A BS emulator to a smart-phone representing the vehicular On-Board-Unit (OBU). The laboratory based LTE-A HIL system is used to study the handover process between two serving LTE-A BSs according to the received RF powers at the vehicular OBU. Emulated RF powers and data throughputs are compared with data from a traditional drive test to verify the legitimacy of the proposed methodology. Our VDT results match well the real-world LTE-A measurements for SISO and MIMO operation. This new process benefits from being repeatable and via the use of ray tracing scales to support a wide range of urban and rural operating environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3791-3799
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Antenna measurements
  • Antenna radiation patterns
  • Channel Emulation
  • Channel models
  • Channel Models
  • Handover
  • LTE-A
  • MIMO
  • Radio frequency
  • Ray tracing
  • Ray Tracing
  • Three-dimensional displays
  • V2I
  • Vehicular Communication


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