The Commonwealth of Virginia recently hosted a live trial of a 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 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 was conducted on the Virginia Smart Road operated by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in Blacksburg, VA. It was the first of its kind in North America.
5G transmission speeds and edgee servers—locally installed, high-powered computers capable of running Artificial Intelligence programs—open the door to smart city technologies such as near real-time traffic management and 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 such as accidents and road construction—for pedestrian and in-vehicle driver safety and efficient navigation.
This live international trial tackled 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.
The Virginia live trial addressed three objectives:
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)
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
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.
In this live trial, Verizon and TELUS exhibited ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) 5G networking capabilities, such as hosting Capgemini’s ENSCONCE MEC platform, built upon the Intel Smart Edge Open toolkit, to enable connected car use cases at the edge on Intel Architecture-based EC2 instances on AWS Wavelength. Intel Smart Edge Open (formerly known as OpenNESS) is a royalty-free edge computing software toolkit for building optimized and performant edge platforms.
Capgemini’s ENSCONCE MEC Platform also enables multi-tenancy and multi-MNO MEC federation capabilities based on GSMA Operator Platform requirements and comes with Capgemini V2X Stack built-in support. To realize the Active and Passive Vulnerable Road User (VRU) use cases, the AWS Wavelength EC2 instances were used to demonstrate Virtual-RSU and host V2X applications that are based on the Intel Xeon Scalable Processors.
Harman International and Capgemini provided the Virtual-RSU and RSE solutions respectively to realize various V2X use cases with location aware and AI inferencing technologies. Harman also offers a 5G enabled OBU that integrates seamlessly with Stellantis/FCA car and hosts V2X applications. American Tower in collaboration with VTTI is provided the test bed infrastructure at the VTTI intersection where the trial for V-DOT was performed.