Deployment of 5G on European Roads discussed at MWC Barcelona 2021

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A discussion on the latest developments, opportunities and challenges presented by connected mobility and 5G-V2X technology has taken place at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2021 – which is taking place as a hybrid event, with 30,000+ visitors expected in the Spanish city this week.

The discussion was led by the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), with the engagement of EU representatives and stakeholders of the C-2VX ecosystem.

The association disclosed the last global updates of 5G-V2X technology, which will enable real-time connection between vehicles and their surroundings. As 5G-powered vehicles are expected to hit the European market this year, 5GAA members are leading C-V2X deployment through network based, direct communications on the continent. Technological progress supports more advanced applications and the combination of long and short-range connectivity will enable optimal setup for traffic safety and efficiency.

“In the next two to three years, our association expects to see mass deployment of vehicle-to everything (V2X) use cases geared towards improving traffic efficiency and road safety around the world”, says 5GAA director general Johannes Springer. From 2024 onwards, 5GAA further anticipates the large-scale introduction of advanced safety and automated driving use cases supported by C-V2X. 5GAA supports the ecosystem by identifying these required use cases and services, which are expected to be enabled by 5G-V2X in the coming decade. This enables European stakeholders to engage and collaborate in order to scale up V2X services and deliver societal benefits.

5GAA also underlined the strong need for a harmonised regulatory approach that will stimulate innovative business models and grant European competitiveness. The association favours a
technology-neutral regulatory framework that will be focused on service delivery and will foster market-led innovation. Only an enabling and future-proof regulatory environment, conducive to C-V2X rapid deployment by OEMs and road authorities, will improve road safety and reach climate-neutrality.

The association highlighted that 5G-powered vehicles are already commercialized in China. However, there are some relevant improvements in C-V2X implementation and 5G accessibility on roads in Europe. Many cities and road operators are starting to offer internet interfaces with real-time traffic information such as red lights, slippery roads and even wrong-way-driver warnings.

Dieter Hötzer, vice president, automated driving systems at Bosch, illustrated the ‘wrong way driver solution’ developed by the 5GAA member company, as a clear example of technology that greatly impacts road safety. The software needs a GPS signal transferred to a cloud system that alerts drivers going the wrong way and warns other vehicles in the danger zone, sending out almost instant push notifications.

The result of steady technology evolution, 5G will have a revolutionary impact on the automotive system. While it improves traffic efficiency, minimizing travel times and traffic jams, it also increases road safety by reducing road fatalities.

“Ensuring rapid and efficient deployment of 5G along broad networks is critically important to the future of mobility and will result in numerous safety benefits,” adds Springer.

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Lauren is acting associate editor for Traffic Technology International and freelance journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum two busy little girls. She is always in demand!