Novel 5G Intervehicular System Promises Improved Road Safety

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The Horizon 2020-funded METIS-II project has devised and configured a new 5G radio access system (RAN) for intervehicular communication that allows cars to ‘talk’ to each other in realtime conditions.

The system is intended to improve road safety in a future scenario where 5G technologies have become a normal aspect of everyday life. Every year more than 26 000 people die on Europe’s roads and many more suffer horrific road traffic accidents.

The EU has been engaged in several coordinated efforts to review the rules for the training and qualification of professional drivers, as well as reform the safety management principles for motorways and road infrastructure. However, the METIS-II project team strongly believe that technology could also provide a lasting and viable solution to reducing such high numbers of road-related deaths.

Overall, METIS-II aims to provide an important platform for a European-led early global consensus on fundamental questions connected to the development of the future mobile and wireless communications system, and pave the way for future standardisation. The project objective is to lay the foundation for a future mobile and wireless communications system for 2020 and beyond. Specifically amongst the project’s end goals is to optimise the performance and interconnection of in-vehicle mobile communications systems and, by doing so, contribute to improved road safety and lower traffic accident rates, one of the many possible applications of 5G technology.

Presenting the intervehicular system

In particular, researchers the Polytechnic University of Valencia, one of the METIS-II consortium partners, presented their 5G intervehicular communication system for improved road safety demo at the 2016 edition of the Mobile World Congress that took place in Barcelona from 22 to 25 February. The 3D computer-generated demo highlights how cars on the streets of Madrid are able to communicate with each other in realtime conditions and allowed viewers to experience this from both a birds-eye-view and street-view perspective.

The main novelty of the new 5G radio access system is that is allows the continual adjustment of waveforms in such a way that vehicles can communicate with each other, thereby overcoming the hurdle of not having a set station for communication.

In terms of hardware, the system includes three programmable cards, each of which has a high-performance FPGA (field-programmable gate array) to integrate different waveforms, which are what carries data through the air, and four antennas. These cards will allow direct communication between vehicles, as well as the integration of intervehicular communications into conventional mobile communication systems.

Laying the groundwork for the future 5G network

METIS-II envisions an overall 5G RAN system to operate in a wide range of spectrum bands to address the diverse services that would be offered using the technology. Studies have shown that large contiguous spectrum bands are preferable for various reasons, in particular related to device complexity. In general, the 5G system will build upon a set of spectrum usage forms such as the use of dedicated licensed spectrum, horizontal sharing of bands with differentiation according to limited spectrum pools, mutual renting and unlicensed use, as well as vertical sharing of bands.

METIS-II, although financed through the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme boasts a truly global consortium, with partners located across the world from Europe, to Taiwan and the United States. The project is due to finish in July 2017 and received nearly EUR 8 000 000 in EU funding.



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