On March 24th the Commonwealth of Virginia will host a live trial of new driver and pedestrian safety concept that allows near-real-time notification of roadway hazards through 5G and edge technologies. This trial is one of three conducted internationally by a historic public-private collaboration, organized by the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) and eight member companies representing leading technology companies from around the globe. A related European live-trial was conducted in the city of Turin, Italy. The North American live trial will be conducted on the Virginia Smart Road operated by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in Blacksburg, VA. It is the first of its kind in North America.
“The 5G Automotive Association lives out of cooperation between its members. In this case, eight members led by Intel and Verizon give a perfect example of how we can use connected mobility to increase safety on our roads,” said Maxime Flament, CTO of 5GAA. “5GAA is also global and we are happy that use cases demonstrated here in United States can readily be adapted in any other country supporting 5G and Edge networks.”
5G transmission speeds and so-called “Edge” servers—locally installed, high-powered computers capable of running Artificial Intelligence programs—open the door to smart city technologies like near real-time traffic management and innumerable other business applications. The connected car concept uses this high-speed and Edge computing technology to communicate with car sensors and pedestrian smartphones, via a user-authorized mobile app—about traffic hazards, like accidents and road construction—for Pedestrian and in-vehicle driver safety and efficient navigation.
This live international trial attempts to solve one of the more technical challenges of making the connected car concept a daily reality. The 5G networks underpinning the concept are managed by Communication Service Providers (CoSPs) according to geography, each with different edge solutions that must be able to communicate without interruption of the V2X applications as drivers cross borders. Roaming services—the ability to make a call regardless of the network—is one early success of multi-mobile network operators (MNO). Demonstrating the connected car concept can work in a roaming scenario is the core objective of the live trial and represents the first of any such attempt in the United States.
“Telecom operators will have to play a major role by enabling applications and services for the connected car ecosystem,” says Shamik Mishra, CTO Connectivity, Capgemini Engineering. He further adds: “Capgemini is excited to bring its innovative federated MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing) platform and applications to this 5GAA trial to demonstrate the true value of intelligent industry, leveraging data in the vehicles and edge-cloud. The trials serve as a stepping-stone for realizing the potential for automakers to provide services to their connected cars from the network.”
The Virginia live trial addresses three objectives:
- Objective 1: Multi-MNO scenario: How can a vehicle, which has radio access to MNO A, use a MEC application, which is operated by MNO B -> Interworking between MNO‘s (by NOT losing the benefits of low latency)
- Objective 2: Global operational Availability: How can an OEM as the MEC application developer be sure, especially on a global basis, that a MEC application works in the same way if it’s operated by MNO A, or if it’s operated by MNO B
- Objective 3: Multi-MNO with roaming scenario: Where the two operators can seamlessly transfer the V2X service from one operator to the other as the car OEM moves from one geo to the other in a roaming scenario. Typically, when an in-vehicle driver does a cross-border travel that involves two operators.
One of the key benefits of the trial is the value demonstrated by bringing in a large ecosystem to help develop not only the technology but also build the business case and model that will help drive the potential market adoption for 5G and C-V2X to help into the digital transformation of smart cities of the future. To succeed in this endeavor, it will need a village and investment from both public and private sectors to help adopt this new technology to provide a quality of life for all citizens.
The demonstration brings new learnings for various players across the value chain and creates a testbed for trying out new 5G connected car services at the Edge in subsequent phases. The U.S. Live Trial will take place in Blacksburg, VA, on March 24th, 2022.