Finnish research project adds Nokia’s 5G connectivity to VTT’s autonomous car

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As part of the wider Finland-based 5G-Safe project, the VTT Technical Research Center and telecommunications company Nokia have joined forces to connect VTT’s autonomous test vehicle, ‘Martti’, to a 5G cellular network.

The technology enables Martti to detect objects with improved range and share its observations with other vehicles by transmitting data on the 12.5Hz frequency to the MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) server of VTT’s 5G test network. The vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technology is expected to take Martti a step closer to highly/fully automated driving.

As new solutions and services based on 5G technology become more widely available, the project team is expecting an improvement in safety systems for all road users. The new 5G services developed in the project relate to road weather information services, road maintenance data, automated driving support systems, and fast inter-vehicle transmission of 3D views, maps and real-time warnings.

For the recent Martti trials, the radio equipment is supplied by Nokia as part of the telecom operator’s long-standing 5G Test Network cooperation with VTT and other partners. The 5G Test Network enables businesses and other partners to develop increasingly sophisticated new systems and services that enable a transition to the 5G era via a series of improved LTE generations. VTT is using its new vehicle network systems, together with the local road weather and road safety related services they enable, to support drivers, road maintenance providers, and the systems used to control autonomous vehicles. They require no inputs from motorists while driving, as data can be gathered, and warnings sent to users, automatically.

VTT is currently coordinating the 5G-Safe project, which is aimed at piloting new solutions and finalizing them on the basis of the experiences and results accumulated so far. The project also involves brainstorming new opportunities created by 5G technology and analyzing any limitations. Scheduled for completion at the end of 2018, the 5G-Safe project is also used to seek out new business opportunities for the companies involved. In addition to VTT and Nokia, the project’s research partners include: Destia, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and its commercial services, Kaltiot, SITOWISE, and Unikie.

Sunit and VR Transpoint also participate as in-kind partners. Support is also being provided by a technical advisory group including: Bittium, Dynniq (the Netherlands), the Finnish Transport Agency, Telia, and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi).

“One of the solutions being tested now in the project is the Nokia 5G connectivity of Martti, which allows the car to send its observations to a server for analysis across a low latency 5G link,” explained Matti Kutila, from VTT’s RobotCar Crew team. “The data can be used to adapt the car’s behavior according to actual road weather conditions.”

Tiia Ojanperä, leader of the 5G-Safe project, added, “The new 5G link is an important step towards the future development and testing of vehicle services using 5G devices, which are expected to become commercially available during 2019. The main benefit is the broadband uplink, which enables collection of data from multiple cars to a cloud service.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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