Groundhog Day as yet another European connected car club emerges

This one is called Punxsutawney Phil, and if it sees its shadow the telco industry must endure another six weeks of new connected car groups.

Seriously though; there’s another one. Two weeks after the last one. And a week after a different one reminded us what it has been up to. This new one is based in Spain, and got off to a good start by adhering to the nomenclature of including a number somewhere in its name: R3CAV. It will fit right in alongside the likes of 5GCroCro, 5G-Carmen and 5GAA. C-ITS should really consider adding a number to clear up any confusion.

Spanish operator Masmovil is currently the sole telco in R3CAV, which stands for Robust, Reliable and Resilient Connected and Automated Vehicle. Masmovil is joined by French car giant Renault; bus company Alsa; collision avoidance specialist GMV; automotive electronics firm Masermic; AI software maker Sigma; and Indra, a Madrid-based technology consultancy focused on the transport, air traffic, defence and security sectors.

R3CAV calls itself a project more than an industry group. It falls under Spain’s covid-recovery strategy, the National Recovery Plan, and is backed by the EU’s covid economic recovery package, the NextGenerationEU fund.

According to a press release, R3CAV’s members will combine their expertise to develop a new prototype driverless vehicle, as well as a connected autonomous bus, and an advanced driver assistance system that leverages 5G.

R3CAV “positions the partners at the forefront of the technologies needed to develop future autonomous and connected vehicles,” the group said in a statement.

Pedants will point out the differences between R3CAV and the others. For instance, 5GCroCro and 5G-Carmen are specific regional projects backed by the EU, and were tasked with testing how technologies like 5G vehicle-to-everything (5G-V2X) perform when it comes to cross-border autonomous driving. 5GAA meanwhile is focused on the general development and use of cellular technology for the automotive sector, and is a big fan of 5G-V2X. C-ITS – which stands for cooperative intelligent transport systems – is the term adopted by the EU for its broader connected transport initiative, which includes the deployment of long-range and short-range V2X communications technologies, like 5G-V2X.

So yes, there are some differences here. But there is also plenty of overlap and duplicated effort.

On the one hand, throwing multiple initiatives at the wall to see what sticks could work out for the best because connected autonomous driving is a tough nut to crack, so why not use more than one nutcracker? But there is also a risk of this somewhat scattergun approach backfiring, resulting in multiple, incompatible solutions. As the mobile industry has demonstrated with its tried-and-tested processes for developing globally-recognised and interoperable standards, a little coordination can go a long way.


Image credit: YouTube


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