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November 17, 2016

Driverless cars – is the UK being left behind?

Germany and Korea are taking an early lead in connected car network and vehicle testing

By Sam

The news that Samsung snapped up car tech maker Harman for $8bn as a move into driverless car technology came amid a flurry of activity in the connected car market.

In Germany and Korea and at the US connected car auto show, big moves and investments were announced to test networks and driverless vehicles.

Autonomous or driverless connected cars can only operate with the most advanced in-vehicle technology and gigabit plus mobile data transfer rates available on 5G networks.

As Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich says: “each autonomous vehicle will be generating approximately 4,000 GB – or 4 terabytes – of data a day.” (See below)

Germany and Korea are racing ahead with network and vehicle testing.

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In Korea, engineers and researchers from SK Telecom were first off the starting grid with a declaration that they had tested the world’s first 5G-connected cars.

The firm said it tested a 5G network over 240,000 sq mts with data rates in excess of 20 gigabytes per second at peak and latency that was sub millisecond.

World's first 5G connected car trial

World’s first 5G connected car trial

SK Telecom said it deployed the world’s largest mmWave 5G trial network using the 28GHz band at BMW driving center in Yeongjong Island, Incheon,  to demonstrate the world’s first 5G-based connected car, named ‘T5.’

SK Telecom and Ericsson jointly developed and deployed the 5G radio and core network infrastructure to cover the whole driving center.

The news from Korea was swiftly followed by an announcement from Ericsson that a cross industry consortium had been formed between it, BMW Group, Deutsche Bahn and the three mobile network operators Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica Deutschland and Vodafone and German labs and road transport institutes. The consortium is already testing 5G technology which has been deployed on a German test autobahn.

The test track consists of several construction sections on the “Digital Test Field Motorway” in an area of around 30 km between the junctions of Nuremberg-Feucht and Greding, in which the A9 federal motorway and the high speed train route Nuremberg-Ingolstadt-Munich run in parallel, and are covered by the built up test network at the same time, it said.

The infrastructure is already completed in the first partial sections, meaning that live tests can begin immediately.

“5G-ConnectedMobility” creates an infrastructure and a real application environment on a “Digital Test Field Motorway”, above all to carry out tests in the area of vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, digitalization of the railway infrastructure and other applications using 5G technology.

Ericsson said: “For this purpose, “5G-ConnectedMobility” operates within an independent infrastructure, and is not dependent on any commercial network. This means that 5G prototype applications can be installed and tested regularly, in various network configurations, at any time, without restrictions. The dedicated Ericsson 5G mobile network allows live tests of real time applications, even under extreme network loads, and with very high travel speeds at the same time. Test conditions, which are hardly ever found in commercially operated live networks, can be created.”

Professor Frank H. P. Fitzek, Deutsche Telekom Chair of Communication Networks, 5G Lab Germany, said: “There is a great opportunity in this project to test the previously developed technologies of the 5G Lab Germany, with important partners in the field. Connected cars will significantly increase safety in traffic but also require new technologies for the dynamic networks of the future. We are confident of being able to provide the first practical results soon.”

Next: What’s happening in the UK?


What’s happening in the UK?

In August in the UK the The Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK invited businesses to apply for innovation project funding of up to £35 million.

It said: “Projects need to come up with technical solutions for connected and autonomous vehicle features. These features should provide real-world benefits to users. This includes how these vehicles will work as part of a wider transport system. Proposals must show a clear commercial benefit. Funding for this competition comes from CCAV (up to £30 million) and Innovate UK (£5 million).”

The Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles is a joint policy unit. It was set up by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport.

It said: “The aim of CCAV is to help ensure that the UK is a world leader in developing and testing connected and autonomous vehicles.”

Applications closed last week.

In March 2016, then Chancellor George Osborne said that connected cars would be tested on UK motorways by the end of 2017.

Highways England said it had a budget of £150m as part of its innovation strategy which included trials of connected cars.

Between July and September the UK Government ran a consultation on Advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicle technologies: supporting their use in the UK. The Government is analysing the feedback and will report soon here.

The Korea driverless 5G Trial

The 5G trial in Korea tested ultra-low latency communication between vehicles or the vehicle and its environment. SK Telecom worked with BMW Group Korea to install 5G terminals within two BMW vehicles.

SK Telecom has demonstrated T5’s capability to observe road conditions enabled by state-of-the-art video recognition camera installed within the vehicle so as to provide notifications and assisted-driving to drivers.

In addition, the company has transmitted, in real time over the 5G network from the device to the network (i.e., uplink), ultra-high-definition (UHD) video taken by 4K cameras and a 360-degree camera installed both inside and outside of the vehicle to the control center.

SK Telecom has also introduced a 5G-based virtual reality bus (named ‘5G Experience Bus’). Equipped with large screen displays, an audio system and state-of-the-art video cameras to provide augmented/virtual reality multimedia, 5G Experience Bus provides passengers with immersive media experience while on the move.

“5G will offer much more than just faster data speeds. It will serve as a true enabler for a whole new variety of powerful services that deliver unprecedented value to customers,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, the CTO and Head of Corporate R&D Center of SK Telecom. “Today’s demonstration of 5G-based connected car technologies marks the very first step towards achieving fully autonomous driving in the upcoming era of 5G.”

Intel inside driverless

This week also saw Intel Capital target $250m of additional investment in connected vehicle technology over the next two years to make fully autonomous driving a reality.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (from left), Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger and Mobileye Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO Professor Amnon Shashua speak at a news conference in Munich, Germany, on Friday, July 1, 2016.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (from left), Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger and Mobileye Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO Professor Amnon Shashua speak at a news conference in Munich, Germany, on Friday, July 1, 2016.

This Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in his blog: “Today, we think we live in a world flooded with data, but compared to the future, today’s amount of data is relatively small. In 2016, the average person generates 650MB of data a day – through use of their PCs, mobile phones and wearables. By 2020, projections show that the average person will generate 1.5GB of data a day. That’s an impressive 200 percent increase in less than four years – but it pales in comparison to what we’re about to see in autonomous vehicles.”

“In an autonomous car, we have to factor in cameras, radar, sonar, GPS and LIDAR – components as essential to this new way of driving as pistons, rings and engine blocks. Cameras will generate 20-60 MB/s, radar upwards of 10 kB/s, sonar 10-100 kB/s, GPS will run at 50 kB/s, and LIDAR will range between 10-70 MB/s. Run those numbers, and each autonomous vehicle will be generating approximately 4,000 GB – or 4 terabytes – of data a day.”

Every autonomous car will generate the data equivalent of almost 3,000 people. Extrapolate this further and think about how many cars are on the road. Let’s estimate just 1 million autonomous cars worldwide – that means automated driving will be representative of the data of 3 billion people.”

In September this year Audi AG, BMW Group, and Daimler AG have teamed up with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm to announce the formation of the 5G Automotive Association.

The 5G driverless car road race is on and the slow lane is not the place to be.

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