Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson test 5G roaming for cross-border vehicles

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Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson have recognised in advance some of the challenges that 5G will present when working with vehicles that are roaming across borders.

The companies are working on a €17 million project to test cross-border working between Germany and France and at the border between Germany and Luxembourg (pictured: Google Street View).

Following the Schengen agreement of 1985, implemented in the 1990s, there are no border controls – or stops – between many mainland European countries. That means 5G connections from vehicles travelling from Forbach in France or Schengen in Luxembourg to Germany need to be handed over to a new 5G carrier across the border, without vehicles needing to stop.

In this new EU-funded trial, Deutsche Telekom hands over its 5G signals from Orange in France and Post Luxembourg’s networks to its own network in Germany.

“This assures that mission-critical connected driving services are always available along the road,” said Deutsche Telekom. “For these tests, existing 5G radio access network sites were equipped with additional mobile network components from Ericsson to establish a 5G trial network based on principles similar to campus network approaches, but at a larger scale.”

The project uses mobile edge computing-based cloud infrastructure, embedded in the mobile networks to support low-latency communication and computing for mission-critical services, said Deutsche Telekom.

“As part of the project, Stellantis and Renault provided vehicles equipped with the Anticipated Cooperative Collision Avoidance (ACCA) connected service, allowing [them] to receive warnings about hazards,” the company said.

“These can be traffic jams or broken-down vehicles blocking the road. While broken down vehicles usually stay where they are, the end of the traffic jam is permanently moving. This is particularly dangerous if the end of the traffic jam is behind a curve or a hill.”

The ACCA service will detect the current location of the end of the traffic jam. “It analyses information such as anonymous status data transmitted to the cloud by the vehicles in the vicinity. In this way, the position of the end of the traffic jam is determined in real time.”

Drivers of vehicles approaching the danger spot are warned with precise information.

“The aim is to avoid dangerous driving manoeuvres such as emergency braking or to point out the danger of unexpected manoeuvres by vehicles in front by means of the anticipatory warning,” said Deutsche Telekom.

The companies have started this research in advance of any of the problems that have occurred with 4G roaming, where some users have found it impossible to make VoLTE voice calls when roaming in some locations.