Europe has set ambitious objectives for 5G deployment in the 5G Action Plan from 2016 as well as for pan-European 5G Corridors for Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) in the 3rd Mobility Package from 2018. On 7 February 2019, the European Commission held a workshop with all stakeholders interested in the deployment of 5G networks along roads to enable Connected and Automated Mobility Services.

The workshop, which gathered more than one hundred professionals and policy makers, was open to key stakeholder including telecom operators and vendors, automobile manufacturers and suppliers, road operators, transport authorities, as well as actors involved in road safety and security. The event was also accessible to a wider audience via public web streaming.

It is the first time that the Commission brought together all the communities concerned to discuss a roadmap towards the deployment of 5G connectivity infrastructure for connected and automated mobility in Europe, building on the prospect of the financial support related to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Digital Programme proposed for the next EU budget period 2021-2027.

The Commission aims to use the transformative potential of 5G in the field of mobility to make Europe a world leader in Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) as set out in its strategy on the subject. This is driven, in particular, by the ambitious connectivity targets set out in the 5G Action Plan for Europe geared towards achieving uninterrupted 5G coverage along all major transport paths by 2025.

The current phase is pivotal, with the commercial launch of 5G expected to take place in all EU countries by end 2020, and the 5G cross-border trials under way with the support of the Horizon 2020 Programme. This phase should be followed by a rapid ramp-up of operational deployment from 2021 when the public-private co-investment in 5G cross-border corridors proposed CEF Digital Programme is expected to start.

The workshop had been carefully prepared under the leadership of the 5G-PPP Automotive Working Group which produced an executive outline of the 5G Strategic Deployment Agenda for CAM as well as a more detailed White Paper providing preliminary scenarios and options for deployment. The issues addressed range from deployment objectives and service requirements to cooperation models and regulatory issues including spectrum, co-investment and network sharing as well as net neutrality in line with the European regulatory frameworks.

The workshop identified valuable elements for the upcoming development of the Strategic Deployment Agenda (SDA).

Objectives and Service Requirements

  • The four main objectives of the CAM Communication, i.e. reducing fatalities, reducing carbon emissions, improving traffic efficiency as well as industrial leadership in CAM are widely supported and should be the basis for a common vision for the SDA.
  • CAM as strategic application area enabled by 5G should be put in perspective to other important verticals potentially enabled by 5G such as industry 4.0, energy or health.
  • There is also a general recognition that automated driving will rely on a broad range of technologies including, but going well beyond, on-board sensors and artificial intelligence. Cellular communications and in particular 5G will be one of the important enablers.
  • Even if the broad range of CAM use cases enabled by 5G are still to be emerging in the next decade, it should be elaborated in the SDA how the set of CAM use cases as envisaged for 5G today can contribute concretely to the societal objectives set out above.

Investment and Cooperation Models:

  • 5G networks will be multi-service infrastructures and will therefore offer the benefit of a shared investment, improving the profitability of each service/sector using the shared infrastructure. This is considered as an important enabler of the CAM business case in particular in challenge areas along major transport paths.
  • 5G has the potential to meet the demanding requirements of CAM. However, these have to be better defined in order to ensure the roll-out of CAM-ready infrastructure along roads that is future-proof. Of particular importance are technical characteristics in a multi-service context including capacity, speed and latency, cyber-security requirements, and geographical cell density.
  • While cross-border 5G corridors may not represent the most complex technical case, and while considerable safety and environmental benefits are expected from CAM in urban areas, they are the areas where CAM services with higher automation levels are expected first. 5G cross-border corridors leading to pan-EU corridors are therefore considered as important driver for advanced CAM services enabled by 5G and are the right way to develop 5G-based CAM ecosystems at scale in Europe.
  • Regarding cooperation models for 5G corridor deployment projects, there is not only one model considered at this stage. All models currently considered by the Working Group such as wholesale models or network sharing are considered relevant. Whereas current trial projects include a very broad range of stakeholders of the value chain, deployment projects could be limited to a smaller number of participants focusing on the infrastructure roll-out. Other actors of the value chain, e.g. car makers, do not necessarily see a need to be involved in the infrastructure deployment as such.
  • As 5G is a multi-service infrastructure, Telecom operators are the most likely to take the main risk to invest, with public funding support where appropriate, where the automotive sector will make significant investment in R&D to ensure their cars are equipped to support CAM services that are inter alia enabled by 5G infrastructure. The possible roles of other players of the value chain such as highway operators or specific CAM service providers need to be further developed in the SDA. The ongoing trial projects are considered as important platform to establish the knowledge base for the SDA as regards cooperation models and the roles of market actors.

Regulatory Innovation

  • The workshop also confirmed the opportunities offered by the SDA for 5G CAM to use new regulatory approaches enabled by the new telecom framework such as spectrum and network sharing, co-investment and wholesale-only models, as well as providing specialised services within the net neutrality rules.

Next steps

All present stakeholders supported the first elements of the Strategic Deployment Agenda (SDA) presented and it was concluded that the 5G PPP Automotive Working Group will take into account the input for its further development. Stakeholders, in particular those involved in the ongoing trial projects, were invited to actively contribute to this activity.

Related documents: