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By Roberto Galves Business Development

Madrid, 4 August 2022.- If anything is clear, it is that the advent of 5G in our lives will transform the way we think about mobility. It is true that we will still have to wait a few years before we can get into a fully autonomous vehicle, but step by step, new technological advances are taking us in that direction.

Technologies such as 5G or edge computing allow for new ways of communicating with machines. The aim is to obtain mass connectivity between vehicles and other elements and actors on the roads so drivers can be instantly warned about hazards and adverse situations.

  From the 1930´s on, particularly after World War II, much of the world´s economy went into overdrive with the aid of a “car -first” infrastructure. This boosted a gigantic ecosystem that regulated and enabled the use of cars: traffic authorities, driving schools, driving licenses, asphalted streets, sidewalks, highways, roundabouts, viaducts, tunnels, traffic lights, traffic signs, rubber tires, oil extraction, oil refining, etc.

An unfathomable amount of money has been spent globally to design, build, operate and maintain the whole vehicle value chain, with tens of trillions of euros of value unlocked over the last nearly 10 decades.

Safety is the main point of concern for the coming smart roads. Being digital platforms, these infrastructures should be as protected against cyberthreats as any other digital asset. Therefore, Telefónica developed a pioneering cybersecurity solution which boosts the security of the 5G-based C-V2X communications by assigning cryptographed certificates to the different elements that are part of the smart highways ecosystem."

“We are going to have a long period of time, 30 to 40 years, where there’s going to be a mixed traffic environment.We feel it is vital that we provide the same information to all road users – irrespective of the level of vehicle automation. AIVIA is focusing on delivering smart roads to provide safer, more convenient and more user-friendly roads.”

However, we are now living a new revolution catapulted by the advent of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. Much of this infrastructure is about to be heavily transformed by the digitalization of everything around us in such a way that cars are closer to become digital devices like mobile phones.

Needless to say, the ICT industry and particularly the telecommunications companies are playing a decisive role in this new automobile revolution by developing and providing technologies and digital services that globally will support the progressive control of vehicles like, for example, the C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything).

The C-V2X is a standard first introduced in 2017 by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project), which proposes the mobile communications architecture and use cases of connected vehicles to other elements of the ecosystem, such as, pedestrians (V2P), infrastructure (V2I), network (V2N) and other vehicles (V2V). Since 2017, the standard evolved to also support 5G, which turns out to be one of the main technologies to enable autonomous cars.

Apart from being an active member of the 3GPP, Telefónica participates on relevant forums such as the 5GAA (5G Autonomous Association) - an international cross-industry organization that contributes to the development of the future of mobility - and is partnering with companies that have a key role in this revolution. This is the case of Ferrovial, which is also part of the 5GAA and leads a multi-company initiative called AIVIA Smart Roads that aims to plan, design and develop the infrastructures for the transition of existing highways - where human driving is a must - to those where touching the steering wheel will be an option.

According to Adrian Talbot, Ferrovial’s Head of the Centre of Excellence for Mobility, “We are going to have a long period of time, 30 to 40 years, where there’s going to be a mixed traffic environment.We feel it is vital that we provide the same information to all road users – irrespective of the level of vehicle automation. AIVIA is focusing on delivering smart roads to provide safer, more convenient and more user-friendly roads.”

Safety is the main point of concern for the coming smart roads. Being digital platforms, these infrastructures should be as protected against cyberthreats as any other digital asset. Therefore, Telefónica developed and successfully demonstrated at testing facilities of DEKRA in Málaga, Spain, a pioneering solution of cybersecurity solutions which boosts the security of the 5G-based C-V2X communications by assigning cryptographed certificates to the different elements that are part of the smart highways ecosystem in such a way to build a more trustful environment.

Telefónica is the first telecommunications company to develop such a system following the European Commission’s requirements for the connected vehicle communications and to integrate it into the EC’s cybersecurity node and DEKRA is a leading testing and certification company for Connectivity including 5G, IoT, Wireless, Automotive C-V2X and cybersecurity.

This innovative break-through will be needed sooner than one might think. In a survey conducted by Mckinsey with 75 executives from different companies, respondents in Europe and North America expect highway pilots with Level-4 autonomous cars to start in 2025 and the first massive deployments to be implemented in 2026 for some applications, particularly in the United States and in China.

According to Gartner, worldwide net additions of vehicles equipped with hardware that could enable autonomous driving without human supervision will reach 745.705 units by 2023, up from 137.129 units in 2018. This growth will predominantly come from North America, Greater China and Western Europe, as countries in these regions become the first to introduce regulations around autonomous driving technology.

The future of massive and global autonomous transportation is under way and it is definitely digital. Telefónica Global Solutions and our sister companies of the Telefónica Group are proactively building a world in which driving will become an option.

Nuestro producto IoT está preparado para adaptar este artículo a tu negocio.

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