The 5G shortcut to safer autonomous transport
Imagine entering an urban road network and just letting go of the wheel, knowing that your onward journey is safer and more economical in the hands of the autonomous transport infrastructure network. At the AstaZero road safety testing ground in Sweden, a team of innovators from Ericsson, academia and industry has made a significant leap towards that future.
Ericsson ONE is a global community of thinkers and doers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs, brought together by a shared mission to create easy to use innovations that scale, last and solve real problems that people care about. Ericsson ONE is where we incubate new businesses and make bold innovation come to life. The Asta Zero incubation project is part of the Ericsson ONE initiative, exploring the safe future of autonomous transport.
There's no doubt that the future of transport lies in autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure – the question is how do we ensure it is safe for all road users? The multi-disciplinary innovation team has brought their considerable collective expertise and creativity to bear on answering this question, using a mock set up of a city junction to simulate a real-world traffic environment and prove the efficacy of the technology.
The team – made up of innovators from Ericsson, Chalmers University, the University of Naples and AstaZero itself – are using 5G distributed cloud to reduce the time in sending safety-critical data between both autonomous and manually-driven vehicles and infrastructure, with the edge computing hardware brought much closer to the point of use – the mock junction.
In short, by changing the way the network is used they've eliminated the risk of collision, even with both human-driven and autonomous vehicles sharing the same road.
Proving new ground for the network
Most modern vehicles already have the cellular network technology required to transmit information like position and speed data, but the latency restrictions of traditional radio networks prevent this data from being used in safety-critical applications like avoiding collision.
Enter Ericsson 5G distributed cloud.
By bringing the network much closer to the point of use and leveraging the low-latency power of edge computing, vehicles can communicate this data with each other rapidly and reliably, positioning themselves to avoid collision on the approach to a common intersection. As well as opening up the possibilities of a much smoother driverless transport network, it's an excellent proof point for using the network in new ways. Not just to communicate, but to help us make better decisions and improve safety.
Flash-forward to the future city and this technology could be in use at every intersection across a traffic network, powered by easily adoptable technology that is safer, cleaner and more efficient than having human hands on the wheel.
The perfect mix for innovation
By innovating with a mix of different expert partners we can build the perfect conditions to break new ground and create viable, problem-solving products.
The team from Chalmers University and the University of Naples, made up by students Luca Maria Castiglione and Alberto Petrillo supervised by Paolo Falcone and Stefania Santini, have provided their leading V2V communication tech and algorithm development. AstaZero have created the infrastructure testing environment and contribute vehicle expertise, and Ericsson have provided our leadership in network technology and innovation partnership.
By working together in this way, we can chop giant questions into smaller, solvable challenges, validate every new thing we learn, and ensure we are creating viable, adoptable solutions that solve problems better than any alternative.
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