Finnish project uses 5G communications to ‘share’ road and weather information


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the 5G-Safe project, which aims to reduce traffic accidents through the use of 5G cellular communications-equipped ‘connected cars’.

The multi-participant project involves the development of new vehicular network systems, and the local road weather and safety services that they enable, to help support drivers, road operators, and autonomous vehicle management systems. The new services will require no action from motorists while driving, as data will be gathered and warnings will be sent to users automatically. The prevailing local weather and road conditions, together with warnings and other useful information, are automatically identified, based on data collected from vehicles, and then sent in real time to the end-users. The new network and cloud computing technologies being researched under the project will reduce delays in data exchange and be more scalable than current services.

The 5G-Safe project is part of the ‘Challenge Finland’ competition, being run by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. As well as automatically generated local weather and road condition information, real-time video and radar data will also be exchanged between passing vehicles. Other issues being investigated include the use of data on local road weather conditions to improve the situational awareness of autonomous vehicles, and the enhancement of autonomous operation in harsh weather.

In addition to VTT, the research partners include: Destia, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and its Kaltio Technologies Oy, SITO, Tieto, and Unikie commercial services. Nokia, Sunit and VR Transpoint are participating as sponsors. Support is also being provided by a technical expert group including: Bittium, Dynniq (Netherlands), the Finnish Transport Agency, the Telia telecommunications group, and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi). The project will end in 2018, and its private-sector partners are hoping to commercialize the results.

“The wide introduction of real-time services, based on sensor and video data collected from vehicles, is being made possible by next-generation 5G mobile network technology, and new solutions supporting optimal data collection and exchange,” said VTT project manager Tiia Ojanperä.

“5G will form the cornerstone of interaction between robot cars, for example. Finnish ICT firms have major export potential in this area. Contemporary driver support systems are mainly vision-based, relying on signals generated by the vehicle’s sensors. 5G and short-range radios will also bring the power of speech and hearing to vehicles, taking their capabilities to a new level.”

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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).