Connected or even self-driving: The future of cars with 5G

Developing connected (and eventually autonomous) vehicles requires the implementation of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication. This system needs to be robust and capable of supporting critical applications. Within the scope of 5GCar—a European Collaborative Research and Innovation Project—a consortium of key players in the telecom and automotive ecosystems has demonstrated the potential for 5G cellular technologies to support this new kind of communication.

"The advantage of 5G is illustrated in the ability to run software on the network instantaneously and latency-free for thousands of cars"

For over a decade, Orange has been at the forefront of research on connected mobility based on cellular networks. Thanks to its commitment to national and European collaborative projects, i.e. SCOOP, it has been possible to shape and sculpt the future of vehicular communications. This endeavour subsequently saw a shift in focus to 5G applications for connected vehicles, through the Towards 5G initiative, which was initially conducted in private partnership with Ericsson and PSA, and then under the European project 5GCar from 2017.

An automotive telecoms alliance for the connected car

5GCar consists of thirteen partners from the telecom world and the automotive industry, including equipment suppliers and manufacturers among others — all of whom are leaders in their respective fields. In short, with the involvement of academic researchers, the project aims to evaluate, test and demonstrate the potential of 5G to support future services and communications in terms of latency, resilience, scalability and even security.

In this context, and as a leader in the Architecture work package, Orange contributed in various ways. Orange employees Sylvain Allio, Research Engineer, and Cédric Seureau, Research Program Manager for the Interconnecting Attractive Territories project, explain how: “By leveraging the experience and resources from the Towards 5G initiative, we provided a theoretical background on vehicular communication architectures and supplied the project with a proven platform for testing hardware and software.”

Optimised and calibrated V2X network architecture

“The 5G network architecture designed and deployed by Orange and based on 3GPP [3rd Generation Partnership Project] Release 15, has been ‘boosted’ under 5GCar to support vehicular communications. Fourteen technical components have been designed around key areas for improvement such as end-to-end security of V2X communications, management and orchestration of network functions, and optimisation of edge computing technologies.” The software architecture chosen by Orange—adapted and reused throughout the project—will have been used in particular on two of the three use cases studied and demonstrated during the project.

An AI/5G fusion for smarter vehicles

The first use case relates to Lane Merging, i.e. the assisted merging of connected or autonomous vehicles onto a dual carriageway. While a mobility orchestration module is responsible for transmitting acceleration and braking instructions for merging safely, a smart camera system coupled with data fusion software is responsible for the early detection of other vehicles in the lane, including non-connected vehicles. Furthermore, given the extremely low latency of the 5G network, cars can execute commands in the shortest possible time, while its scalability can accommodate a significant number of communications in a given space — a motorway, in this case.

The second application focuses on the area of cooperative perception and, more specifically, on a high-safety component use sub-case. This involves sharing information collected by the radars and LiDAR (laser remote sensing equipment) of one vehicle with other nearby connected vehicles in order to detect and anticipate potential collisions at junctions. This data exchange is supported by a software architecture that integrates artificial intelligence modules, for example collision detection modules. “One of the biggest advantages of 5G is illustrated in these use cases, featuring software that can run instantaneously and latency-free on the network for thousands of cars.”

Next step: Open circuit

An onsite demonstration of the use cases explored as part of 5GCar took place on 30 June 2019 at the TEQMO Linas-Montlhéry test centre for autonomous and connected cars, of which Orange is a partner. After two years of study and preparation, the demonstration was a success and it established and enhanced the suitability of 5G V2X communications with a view to developing use cases on connected cars. This has enabled Orange, the only carrier involved in the 5GCar consortium, to improve and assert its expertise and leadership in V2X based on cellular technologies. However, 5GCar was simply one step, albeit a crucial one, on the path towards the future of connected/autonomous vehicles, which is now thriving as part of a new European innovation project. The applications demonstrated on a closed circuit are now being planned for an open setting and will be studied on a cross-border corridor, in real traffic conditions, under the 5GCroCo project, another European research project of which Orange is also a member. This means new use cases and challenges are being developed, including V2X communication roaming between different national networks.

Read also on Hello Future

Control and Repair Robots Remotely Using Digital Twinning


Balcony modernizes location-based mass communication

GettyImages - Firecell 5G logistics logistique

Firecell Simplifies 5G B2B Private Networks


Traveling Safely in Increasingly Autonomous Driverless Cars

Live streaming has become increasingly widespread. With the addition of 5G, this service can be dramatically improved at all levels, including image quality, download times, interruptions and lag. Faced with today’s generations’ enthusiasm for live feeds, researchers are now working to adapt live streaming TV so it can be done on the go. The Goal: Lag-Free Live Streams Getting closer to what’s happening live is one of the main challenges in the field of live streaming. Yet, streaming over the Internet using Wi-Fi or 4G still results in a lag of 30, 40 or even 50 seconds on tablets or smartphones. This lag will particularly hit home for any soccer fans who have ever heard their neighbor watching TV and cheering for a goal they haven’t seen yet. It also affects participants in time-limited interactive TV game shows and televised broadcasts by figures of authority in relation to announcements, alerts or disasters, for example. Ensuring service continuity, particularly when faced with high demand, is another challenge of live streaming. At Orange Innovation, researchers are therefore thinking about how they can make improvements in the field of TV streaming on the go, using a combination of 5G, video streaming technologies (multicast, low latency), network bandwidth allocation (network slicing) and edge computing. Their work has primarily focused on mutualizing streams; a key way of saving bandwidth. Dominique Thômé, Product Manager Innovation Data TV, explains that “Unlike unicast technology, which broadcasts streams as many times as there are simultaneous connections, multicast should allow a single stream to be broadcast to thousands of people connected to a large 5G zone. This mutualization prevents bandwidth loss and, consequently, service interruptions from network congestion. Another advantage, which is of great importance to Orange, is that it consumes less energy and therefore contributes to the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Recognizing the Know-How of Carriers Experiments carried out in the Orange laboratory have yielded interesting results. A real-time readjustment of video quality to prevent network saturation resulted in each customer being able to watch TV with only five seconds of lag, confirming the feasibility of 5G live streaming on the go. In fact, faced with ever-increasing volumes, some broadcasters are beginning to turn to carriers to broadcast their TV streams. They need players that are able to transmit this huge amount of data while ensuring optimal quality, in order to avoid any latency problems. Thibaut Mathieu, Director of Innovation for Interactive & Multiscreen Services at Orange says that “Our pioneering approach toward 5G live streaming highlights the valuable role that network carriers play, right at the heart of the system, compared to OTT players (“over the top,” such as the Tech Giants), both in terms of technology and business. We will be able to get involved in data transmission, with optimal mutualization technology that will save money and energy.” These technologies are consistent with Orange’s CSR commitment, both in terms of carbon footprint (lower energy consumption) and inclusion (broadcasting the right information at the right time). More than Just Entertainment The challenge goes far beyond the traditional TV broadcasting market itself. In the context of the health crisis, brands have been quick to understand the value of live streams to generate sales and are starting to venture into “Live Shopping.” Originating from China, this large-scale approach to teleshopping consists of an online event where presenters, influencers or personalities showcase products live to a digital audience who are able to order products or ask questions. Live Shopping is attracting more and more brands around the world. “With hundreds of thousands of people connected at the same time, its large scale will certainly create capacity issues” says Thômé. “This is another case where mutualization will ensure quality of service.”

How 5G Is Revolutionizing Live Streaming


A Lab for Testing the Benefits of Edge Computing on a 5G Network


5G arrives in Le Havre: optimised communications and a Smart Port on the horizon


The connected car crosses national borders