Together these projects will set up 5G trials over more than 1000km of highway including four cross-border corridors: Metz-Merzig-Luxembourg, Munich-Bologna via the Brenner Pass, and Porto-Vigo and Evora-Merida, both between Spain and Portugal. In addition a short cross-border segment between Greece and Turkey will be deployed for testing as well.
These trials will be crucial to the development of 5G-enabled connected and automated mobility. The areas they cover are among ten 5G cross-border corridors already agreed between EU countries. 5G technology will allow autonomous vehicles to connect in real time to each other, to pedestrians, to road infrastructure as well as to public telecom networks and resources in the cloud. This will help to avoid accidents and optimize traffic efficiency and therefore improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The three projects, running as part of the European Commission’s 5G Public Private Partnership, will make possible to test and demonstrate connected and automated mobility services such as automated change of lanes (“lane merge”) and trucks driving in platoons partly without need for drivers (“truck platooning”). They will also help the automotive and telecom industries to develop new business models, making use of 5G to transform online maintenance, fleet management and infotainment.
The projects bring together telecom operators and vendors, road operators, car manufacturers and equipment suppliers, with the support of road authorities, telecom authorities, and regional and national governments. Their combined budget amounts to €62.8 million, of which €49.3 million comes from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
5GCroco will trial 5G technologies over highways between Metz, Merzig and Luxembourg, crossing the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg. It will test and refine advanced 5G network technologies such as mobile edge computing and network slicing, and will test tele-operated driving, high definition maps for autonomous vehicles, and Anticipated Cooperative Collision Avoidance (ACCA).
5G-Carmen will conduct extensive trials across an important north-south corridor from Bologna to Munich via the Brenner Pass, spanning 600 km of roads, connecting three European regions, Bavaria (Germany), Tirol (Austria) and Trentino/South-Tyrol (Italy). It will focus on vehicle manoeuvre negotiation, infotainment, and emissions control in sensitive areas.
5G-Mobix will test connected and automated mobility applications along two cross-border corridors between Spain and Portugal, a short corridor between Greece and Turkey, and six national urban sites in Versailles (France), Berlin and Stuttgart (Germany), Eindhoven-Helmond (Netherlands) and Espoo (Finland). In addition to technical validation and advanced use cases, the trials will make it possible to define cooperation models and include cost/benefit analysis. They will explore new business opportunities for 5G-enabled connected and automated mobility services and provide recommendations and options for deployment.
At the Digital Day in April 2017 in Rome, a Letter of Intent was signed by 27 EU countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, establishing cooperation on cross-border testing and deployment. To date a total of ten 5G cross-border corridors have been agreed among neighbouring states across Europe.
These efforts go towards meeting the policy objectives set out in the European strategies for 5G and Mobility, which both set ambitious targets for 5G coverage along pan-European corridors for a broad range of services, including connected and automated mobility, by 2025.
Further funding opportunities are currently planned by the Commission both under the last phase of Horizon 2020 and the next EU budget proposal. In particular, as part of the next Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF2 Digital) for 2021-2027, the Commission has proposed to dedicate €3 billion to support investment in digital connectivity infrastructures, of which part is proposed for large-scale deployment of 5G corridors including roads and railways.