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EU caught in middle of autonomous vehicles standards row – Nokia

Self-driving car flat modern illustration

The sides are stacked in the battle for standardization, and poor little Europe is stuck in the middle as the US pulls one direction, and China the other.

Connectivity consistency is one of the main problems in the IoT-driven world according to Thorsten Robrecht, Nokia’s VP of Advanced Mobile Networks Solutions, speaking to Telecoms.com at MWC 2017, especially when you consider use cases such as the autonomous vehicle.

“To be as effective as possible, we need to ensure that connectivity is consistent throughout the world,” said Robrecht. “Unfortunately there is a debate over which direction to go with the standards. LTE-V is being pushed in China and ITS-G5 is being pursued in the US. Unfortunately, Europe is stuck in the middle, getting pressure from both sides to comply.” 5G is the perfect answer, but who can wait that long?

It’s a tricky situation; who would you want to irritate more? The US, a state which provides a substantial amount of trade and investment for the region, or the Chinese, a country with untouched potential and undiscovered fortunes.

It’s a delicate question to answer, but Nokia has backed the Chinese corner and LTE-V.

That said, progress in the European autonomous vehicles arena has slowed because of the inconsistency, and inability to commit either way. The lack of drive and concise assurance is hindering innovation. At a time where self-driving cars are on the horizon, an already battle-weary automotive industry could probably do with a bit of a surge. The risk of extinction looms large otherwise.

With every advancement in industry, there comes casualties. The welcoming of the 4th Industrial Revolution, ushering in a wave of automation, is no different according to Robrecht. Tomorrows industry giants are probably minnows today, and todays commanders, could be tomorrows beggars. The early 00s saw the rise of Google and the fall of Yahoo. Not many would have predicted Yahoo’s current predicament in its glory days.

The European automotive trade has been in better shape, but autonomous vehicles could return those brands to lofty heights. That said, Robrecht is looking towards the east for a challenge from Chinese brands; its worried the status quo in every other area so why not the automotive industry? Hesitancy from the established players could provide the spark needed behind the Great Wall.

Overall, the Europeans are in a difficult position. Not only do multiple nations and regulatory authorities have to agree on a consistent standard, they have to decide who they like more. Europe is like a child stuck in the middle of a messy divorce; who do you love more, mummy or daddy?

In any case, someone’s feelings are going to get hurt before too long, but for the sake of European businesses, better make it sooner rather than later.


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What did you feel was the biggest talking point to come out of MWC 2017?

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  • 2020 Vision Executive Summit

  • Connected & Autonomous Vehicles

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  • Mobile Networks / IoT and M2M

  • Smart IoT

  • Internet of Things World Europe

  • Connected Cars & Autonomous Vehicles Europe

  • Nokia Corporation


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