5G NetMobil: The Project That Promises to Revolutionize Transportation

Although we have been hearing about multiple self-driving cars projects for several years and have witnessed some important advances in the field, the subject still has many technological, regulatory and connectivity limitations, something that could change in a short time if the 5G NetMobil project manages to get off the ground.

What is the 5G NetMobil project and how does it aim to revolutionize autonomous transportation?

By: Gabriel E. Levy B.


Major telecommunications companies, universities and vehicle manufacturers have decided to join forces, add capabilities and share information, with the sole purpose of materializing a viable model of autonomous vehicles that will improve mobility, reduce costs, reduce accidents and avoid traffic jams [1].

The project has 16 partners, including BMW, Volkswagen, Bosch, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Nokia and the University of Dresden, who through 5G technology and Wifi ITS-G5, have initiated the design of standards, protocols and most importantly, technological prototypes that will be required in the coming years, including connected autonomous vehicles, intersection assistants, intelligent traffic control systems, early warning systems for risks, intelligent intersections and what those responsible for the project have decided to call: “high-density platooning,” which refers to convoys of trucks that will travel along the highway interlocking high speeds and safely [2].

The 5G NetMobil project emerged as a multisectoral response to eliminate the fundamental limitations of current autonomous systems, which only use the information obtained by the sensors installed in the vehicle, but because they are not linked to the environment, it is impossible for them to meet high standards of safety and reliability (the biggest obstacle present in autonomous vehicles), which is why it is necessary to have permanent, latency-free, reliable and redundant connectivity, something that 5G networks will offer [3].

In essence, the project seeks to integrate current autonomous vehicle technologies with multiple devices associated with the environment, which will be connected through 5G technology and in this way, an intelligent control center will be able to collect and distribute in milliseconds the necessary information collected by a large number of devices such as intelligent traffic lights, surveillance cameras, vehicle sensors and weather sensors, among many others, allowing to anticipate risks and safely manage the simultaneous mobility of millions of vehicles around the world, especially in large cities [4].

“After three years of field research, the results pave the way towards mass production of software and sensors. This work is of particular benefit to road users. The knowledge gained will support the standardization of communications infrastructures,” says Frank Hofmann, 5G and connectivity expert at Bosch and coordinator of 5G NetMobil [5].

5G Networks: The Key to Project Success

The term 5G refers to the fifth generation of wireless and mobile technologies, a set of protocols, devices and standards that constitute a type of mobile network much faster, more stable and with less latency than any other type of wireless connection known so far, which will seek to enhance the growth of the Internet of Things [6].

It is important to remember that the first of the five mobile generations refer to analog phones. The second was the first step towards digitization and the possibility of sending text messages. The arrival of 3G implied adjustments to achieve higher speed and greater bandwidth, in addition to extended protocols that allowed the transmission of formats such as HTML [7].

On the other hand, 4G was shown as an expansion of speed capacity and applications, reaching download speeds up to 100 megabytes per second, giving way to video for the first time in mobile devices [8].

Finally, 5G was born as a result of the efforts of many companies and the will of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which promoted the development of the 5G standard with the purpose of promoting a network with a radically higher speed of at least 1 gigabyte per second, which, although it has been controversial more due to the effect of Fake News than to demonstrable scientific facts, it is already a reality that is present in devices such as iPhone 12 and several countries have initiated the deployment of networks, even in nations such as China most cities already have the deployment of this type of networks [9].

Fail-safe technology


Although the risk of failures, strictly speaking, is practically impossible to achieve, especially when it comes to technologies that demand connectivity, the 5G NetMobil project has proposed to try to reduce this risk to the maximum by using very strict and high quality protocols, so, for example, the communication established between V2V and V2I, which will allow the exchange of data between vehicles, traffic lights, cameras and intelligent crossings, will ensure that data loss is very close to zero, as well as latency[10].

Under this premise, the group of engineers involved in the project has defined as the main operations protocol, something they have called “Quality of Service”, which will be responsible for detecting changes in the quality of the network and if there are problems, it will alert the driving functions to avoid accidents, i.e. in the worst case scenario, if there is a failure all cars will stop to avoid an accident and the system will seek mechanisms to solve the problem quickly[11].

Additionally, the 5G NetMobile group is working on a network segmentation model to separate the cell sites (known in Latin America as cellular) from the networks used by the infrastructure of the cities, ensuring that communication is always enabled and without danger of saturation, guaranteeing a dedicated use of the service [12].

In conclusion, 5G NetMobile is a project that promises to radically transform global mobility. The initiative is promoted by 16 major industries and universities mainly of German origin, which seek to standardize existing systems and new developments, by integrating autonomous car systems and 5G networks, incorporating multiple protocols to be applied in all types of devices such as crossings, traffic lights, security cameras, among other hundreds, all under a strict principle of quality and safety.

[1] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

[2] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

[3] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

[4] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

[5] Frank Hofmann, 5G and connectivity expert at Bosch and coordinator of 5G NetMobil.

[6] Xataca article: What is 5g?

[7] Comparative article on the different types of mobile networks.

[8] Comparative article on the different types of mobile networks.

[9] Andinalink article: Why did 5G become the center of global controversy?

[10] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

[11] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

 [12] Information published by the 5g Net Mobile project.

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