Huawei - For a better connected Europe

The other day I had the pleasure of participating as a panel member in the international Connected Vehicles conference held in Brussels. Huawei was an official sponsor of the event, along with BMW, Mini and Ertico, the European network of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services stakeholders.

There were also participants from Renault, Toyota, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica, automotive technology companies and road infrastructure operators, insurers, the European Commission and national governments, and others. This involvement from different sectors of society and the economy – whether they be users, mobile network operators, technology and vehicle manufacturers, road builders, insurers, or emergency services – will be vital to the cooperative effort of putting broadband on the roads. The emphasis must be on cooperation, getting consumer-focused and infrastructure-related industries to work together; even if, by nature, they work with very different technology life cycles.

Huawei is the leader in supplying telematics solutions to the automotive industry and we believe our LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology will play an important part in developing connected car services in Europe: vehicle to vehicle, motorcycle and pedestrian, as well as to infrastructure.

But it should be pointed out there is no single technology that can be used for vehicle connectivity. Huawei is thus in favour of hybrid, cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), where the cellular network plays a fundamental role. For critical services not covered by the cellular network, we are studying LTE, device-to-device and 5th generation technology (5G) currently being standardised under the 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership.

Cars are already connected via cell networks. Road Side Units deployed must be upgradable to host and implement future services, supporting Software-Defined Radio for instance. And connectivity with these RSUs must be possible in different regions, cities and municipalities across Europe, whether for alerting emergency services in the event of an accident or just to find that elusive town centre parking space.

Standards and certification come into play here. A big push is needed to produce the technical standards to see broadband employed all over our roads. A good way to align technology development cycles would be to already deploy a common communication standard to enable different industries to interoperate and exchange data. A common, dedicated spectrum for automotive – the 5.9 GHz band is not yet reserved in Europe – would immediately stimulate this industry and reduce the risk of interference issues.

The huge effort required by the parties is justified by the benefits ‘Broadband on the roads’ will generate for society. Smart, connected vehicles promise to improve safety, security and comfort on board, fuel efficiency, traffic congestion and environmental impact. And think of the number of vehicle apps and software upgrades that will be bought from cloud services and the royalties paid for technology use.

The cake is big enough for everyone to share. This is a large, developing industry, which may create significant economic wealth for society through new business opportunities and jobs. The cooperation needed to make connected vehicles a reality throughout Europe should be possible given that there is normally more space for win-win cooperation rather than competition in this industry.

– Fabrizio Cortesi, Director of Strategy and Cooperation (Europe), Wireless Networks, Huawei

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