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5GCroCo demos cross-border 5G tech for connected cars

A European consortium created to develop ways of maintaining seamless connectivity even when driving from one country to another has been showing off its work.

5GCroCo stands for Fifth Generation Cross-Border Control. It was created in late 2018 with a plenty of help from the EU. The point of it is to take borders out of the equation when it comes to maintaining connectivity around the continent. This is especially important for connected and autonomous vehicles. Inevitably for an EU project it initially focuses on Germany and France.

A decent demonstration involved driving between Metz in France, Merzig in Germany and Luxembourg in, erm, Luxembourg. The challenges involved in trying to maintain cross-border connectivity are also cross-mobile-network-operator, cross-car-original-equipment-manufacturer, and cross-telco-vendor one too, so there are a fair few compatibility issues to resolve before it can be done without any hassle.

Here are the specific use-cases they were checking out:

Tele-operated Driving (ToD)

Tele-operated Driving technically enables the deployment of truly driverless vehicles through remote operation of the vehicle from a Vehicle Control Center (VCoC). Specifically, a connection is established from the VCoC to the vehicle via a 5G mobile network. This allows the transmission of sensor data, in particular video, from the vehicle to the VCoC and control commands from the VCoC to the vehicle.

High Definition map generation and distribution for automated vehicles (HD Mapping)

HD Mapping technology allows vehicles to collectively contribute to keeping high-definition maps up to date. Using the connection to a 5G mobile network, vehicles send map updates gathered from sensor data

to a common backend, which takes care of merging all these inputs to maintain an accurate HD map. The reliable HD map is then re-distributed to the cars together with up-to-date information regarding lane markings, speed signs, and other essential information for the autonomous driving function in the car.

Anticipated Co-operative Collision Avoidance (ACCA)

5G-enabled ACCA technology will allow for any occurrence of road event, such as a traffic jam, to be communicated to vehicles in the vicinity. As a result, corrective actions such as progressive braking can be anticipated to induce smoother and more homogeneous vehicle reactions in situations when typical sensors will have no visibility or a short detection range (a few hundred meters).

The announcement was shared by Orange, which is part of the group. On the whole this looks like a promising initiative and one of our few regrets about Brexit is that the UK no longer automatically qualifies for such schemes. Having said that, the only obstacles are bureaucratic and there’s still the hope that, when everyone has finished sulking about the divorce, the UK can continue close cooperation with the bloc as a trusted and valued neighbour. Let’s see.

Here’s a vid the group made a not long after it was created.

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