Deutsche Telekom AG / 5G Program discusses the latest V2X applications and connected cars
Automotive IQ interviewed Dr.-Ing. Johannes Springer, Head of 5G Automotive Program from Deutsche Telekom AG / 5G Program, with some insight into the latest V2X applications and connected cars, quality of service in automotive mobile network slices, mobile edge computing and 5G features for precise positioning.
From your perspective, and considering the overall trends in pre-standardization of 5G networks, what are the major current opportunities and challenges for the industry at the moment?
The major opportunity with the upcoming 5G network capabilities is that we are able to provide a mobile network for the automotive industry which organises the functionality specifically needed for automotive use cases. This network will be organized as a logical layer on top of our physical network.
The network will also provide, beside its inherent big strengths, capabilities that allow cars and other traffic equipment can communicate with each other directly without the arbitration of the central network, so it will also work in off-coverage situations.
The 5G network will provide a vast number of new features, and the major challenge right now is to configure those capabilities in a way that they can be used by our automotive customers as early as possible. So how we do that? – we are working very closely together with the automotive industry, so it’s a collaborative approach, or rather a co-creation approach.We at Deutsche Telekom are working closely together with our customers who are using the capabilities of the upcoming networks, as well as closely cooperating with car manufacturers, first and second tier suppliers, but also other parties such as road operators which are providing traffic infrastructure who are relevant for controlling and managing the traffic.
From the above mentioned challenges & opportunities – could you briefly describe which projects the company is working on at the moment and what the major achievements in these are?
Inside Deutsche Telekom, we have organized several testing infrastructures which are for example along the A9 motorway in Germany, and which include also parts of local roads. This is an open test bed where different projects are organized in dealing with the certain automotive aspects, so for example Quality of Service aspects, LTE vehicle to X functions, or precise positioning techniques are developed and tested. Most of the tests are real life tests under real traffic conditions; some of the testing of course is also performed in some special test environments. It is also very important to keep in mind that 5G is not only a local business. 5G is a global business, so we are also engaged with our partners around the world to set up such kind of testing infrastructures on a global scale. For example, we are working closely together with SKT, South Korean Telecom, to make sure that our network capabilities which are used here in Europe can be used in the same way also in South Korea. As a result, our customers can rely on the fact that if one drives with a car of a certain brand here in Germany, then that car brand in Germany uses the mobile network services in the same way as in South Korea.
What are – from your point of view – the biggest challenges to implement 5G technology in Germany and – looking further into the future in Europe and how is your company trying to solve these challenges? What timeline do you give the implementation of 5G in Germany and in Europe?
I think the biggest challenge is to organize a collaboration between various industries, because we have to comply with a vast amount of different industrial customer needs. You have to understand the businesses of your customers to create business cases for every involved party. Mobility and traffic is a very good example for collaboration because every traffic situation is a collaborative activity – if not, it would end in a traffic jam. So it’s a good example of collaboration between stakeholders and they have to communicate, so connectivity is fundamental. In line with the 3GPP standardization schedule, we expect to commence deployments around the 2020 timeframe.
5G for automotive – what are the areas where the telecommunication and automotive industries have to find a common base of technology and economic consensus, and how far are we now?
There are different revenue streams in transportation. There are revenue streams which are coming from the customer, from the ones who want to move from A to B, there are revenue streams from those who are providing mobility, i.e. cars, bicycles or public transport systems. But there are also revenue streams which might come from the communities, from the governmental institutions because their responsibility is to organize the traffic in a way that is as efficient as possible. And of course there are revenue streams from other parties, business partners which are not directly involved in the transportation itself, but in enabling services. Insurance companies for example, which are playing a major role. Companies who want to sell products along the way, so several types of advertisements are important. If you want to elaborate on the benefits of telecommunication in automotive, you have to collaborate in a most efficient way for the benefits for the customer. The customer will pay only an additional amount of money if he receives the benefits of a connected mobility system. In other words: If a connected mobility system is not efficient and convenient, then the customer is not willing to pay for that.