Each day high amounts of goods and services are exchanged across Europe’s 27 Member States. European citizens can freely and easily cross other countries’ borders within the Union thanks to a set of common and efficient standards, technologies and policies. When it comes to aligning transport-related solutions and infrastructure to enhance road safety, lower transport emissions and reduce congestion, 5G is seen as one of the solutions that will pave the way for Autonomous Driving. ERTICO’s latest Academy webinar, co-organised by ERTICO Partner ICCS, provided a 360-degree overview and status of the current technologies that are being tested and focussed on the on-going European project 5G MOBIX, with specific focus on the Spain-Portugal cross-border corridor.

Who wouldn’t like to travel to another European country with the same standard of safety and comfort! When it comes to new technologies such as Automated Driving, communication, connectivity of transport systems and infrastructure are crucial.

ERTICO’s latest Academy webinar brought together representatives from ERTICO, the European Commission, ICCS, CTAG, TELEFONICA, CCG and TIS.PT to discuss the potential, the current status and the setbacks of CCAM through the eyes of European-funded projects and the Spanish-Portuguese cross-border corridor use cases.

For C-V2X and D2D technologies to save lives and provide new real time mobility services, uninterrupted coverage must be in place in all urban and extra-urban areas in Europe, together with high data rates, which requires huge investment. For this reason, the European Commission has so far invested over 100 billion euro in research and development projects to achieve 5G uninterrupted coverage by 2025, especially in “uncovered” areas. Not only investment, but also cross-sector collaboration is essential to push forward these technologies, as stressed by multiple speakers.

5G in fact, is relevant for different sectors: automotive, telecom, IT and services industries, and for R&D and public authorities. These technologies will enable innovative, previously unfeasible automated driving applications with high automation levels, both from a technical and a business perspective, as demonstrated by the Spanish-Portuguese cross-border corridor use case. “International trade, as well as large passenger commuting flows are of great importance and provide ideal conditions for the execution of diversified trials to showcase the advantages offered by the 5G connectivity to CCAM use cases”, said Diana Blanco Perez, CTAG European project manager.

With its 250 km, the corridor connects the cities of Porto and Vigo through highways and national roads. The corridor provides optimal conditions to test automated lane merging, overtaking, live update of HD maps for Autonomous Driving and new infrastructure technologies that will enable the test of 5G connectivity to CCAM V2X. It also involves complementary stakeholders covering the complete value chain and has the commitment of both countries’ public road authorities.

“The favourable conditions of this Spanish-Portuguese cross border corridor will enable a wide range of services to connected vehicles in support of innovative business models enabled by 5G connectivity”, said João Moutinho, CCG.

However, the webinar’s experts also discussed possible setbacks that require cross-sector collaboration in order to be overcome, such as communication and user acceptance.

“Communication and performance in cross-border corridors complicate things”, said Daniel Jáuregui, CTAG. “This is because they deal with different countries, MNOs and security and privacy concerns”.

“We are trying to understand how the service continuity breaks that may result from the border context (from the roaming and handover processes and from differences between the network of two countries), may affect the acceptability of the use cases by real users”, said Emanuel Sousa, CCG.

There are currently a range of ongoing European projects that are working to find the solutions to meet these obstacles, such as the project 5G MOBIX, coordinated by ERTICO.

“Thanks to a consortium of 55 Partners and experts on telecoms, Autonomous Driving companies, entities coming from the business sector and the R&D institutions and universities, 5G MOBIX can address such challenges”, said project coordinator Nikolaos Tsampieris.

5G MOBIX is analysing how 5G systems can benefits personal mobility, traffic efficiency implicitly creating job opportunities and supporting the environment. Ultimately it is about contributing to the development of new innovation and business models and the impact of such technology on society, innovation ecosystems and individual businesses.

The ERTICO Academy webinar on cross-border communication solutions proved that there is still a strong need for cross-sector collaboration. “This webinar provided a very valuable and essential occasion for stakeholders working in different sectors to come together and discuss such topics”, said Nikos. “This once again proves that ERTICO’s mission is paving the way for safe, clean, smart and efficient mobility solutions that can benefit citizens around Europe and beyond”.