Nokia and KDDI successfully trial 4G LTE connected vehicle applications in Japan


As the automotive industry explores the potential of future 5G-based automated vehicle technologies, Nokia and Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI Corporation has successfully demonstrated the use of 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) in Japan to deliver cost-efficient, low-latency connectivity for vehicles.

The proof-of-concept trials are the first in the world to use LTE broadcast, implementing the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) standard in two connected car applications, and demonstrating the potential of cellular technology to enable fully automated driving in the future.

The vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology on trial is designed to connect vehicles to each other, to communications network infrastructure and to roadside sensors, including connectivity to traffic lights, radar and other functions.

For the proof-of-concept testing in Japan, Nokia and KDDI focused on vehicle to network use-case and used non-integrated systems in cars interacting with sensors via the Nokia Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform, which enables significantly reduced network latency.

The Nokia eMBMS hotspot solution allows data to be sent once to many users simultaneously. Used in the trial it allowed real-time information to be shared with multiple vehicles to cost-effectively enable awareness and road safety. The companies compared the efficiency of using LTE broadcast to the one-to-one communication enabled by LTE unicast, in two connected car applications:

• Vehicle-to-Network-to-Vehicle (V2N2V) – in which cars maintained constant contact with the MEC system, sending real-time location, direction and speed data to roadside sensors. In an emergency situation, the driver can alert the application, with information distributed to other vehicles using eMBMS;

• Network Real-Time Kinematic (network RTK) – trial of LTE to enhance fully automated in-vehicle navigation. It showed how eMBMS could more cost-efficiently use existing geo-location systems to communicate to many vehicles in real time and ensure accurate navigation.

One of eight founding members of the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) cross-industry organization that is working to develop end-to-end solutions for future mobility and transportation services, Nokia is recognized as a leading MEC provider and has already conducted Car2X field trials in Germany and China.

The LTE trials in Japan used the company’s AirFrame data center, LTE radio access platform, in-vehicle systems including LTE modems and connected user equipment, and Hexagon’s accurate correction service application. The trials were conducted at a rural location on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

“We have a comprehensive solution package for V2X based on our MEC platform and eMBMS hotspot solution, aiming to cost-effectively accelerate the adoption of vehicle-to-everything communication,” explained Uwe Puetzschler, head of Car2X at Nokia.

“While manual intervention was used in the proof-of-concept trials, a clear evolution path to 5G will enable operators such as KDDI to support the widespread adoption of automated vehicles.”

Munefumi Tsurusawa, general manager of the connected vehicle technology department at KDDI, said, “We are pleased to work with Nokia to demonstrate our leadership in the delivery of mobile networks for IoT and connected car communications. This is an important trial showing how the automotive industry can leverage cellular technology to enhance safety of connect vehicles on the roads.”

April 18, 2018

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).