Routes – Accelerating the arrival of autonomous vehicles

Introducing Alejandro Gil, a talented tech entrepreneur who joined Ericsson in 2011 and is now the creator of Ericsson Routes, an incubation project that creates routes for autonomous vehicles where remote monitoring and driving will be available allowing them to meet their safety and regulatory requirements. Originally from the Mediterranean city of Malaga, Alejandro decided to swap sandy beaches for snow after university and moved to Finland to pursue his passion for technological engineering. After working at Nokia for some years, he became one of Optimi’s first hires – a tech startup providing AI solutions for wireless networks. After Optimi was acquired by Ericsson in 2011, Alejandro joined the Ericsson Customer Unit for T-Mobile USA, always keeping his eyes open for an opportunity to start something new. In 2019, his idea for Ericsson Routes was born, and Alejandro realized this was the perfect kind of venture to develop with Ericsson ONE. By the time we spoke to Alejandro, he’d already done a 5km run, had two meetings and cooked breakfast for his family – and it was only 8:00. Here’s what he had to say about his latest innovation.

What challenges are you trying to solve through Routes?

Remote monitoring and driving capabilities always need to be available for autonomous vehicles. We are developing the solution for this.

Autonomous vehicles need highly reliable cellular service to operate safely and efficiently. To secure this connectivity, companies usually rely on using simultaneously connections from multiple service providers. This approach is inefficient and expensive and still does not give the autonomous fleet operator the information they need to make smart routing decisions.

Autonomous vehicles map

A fixed route with a mandatory requirement of 3 Mbps will require the vehicle to switch to a secondary cellular service provider for the last part of the route

"Autonomous delivery of groceries and other parcels is now in the spotlight due to the COVID-19 crisis and I’m happy to be working in a project that can help society by accelerating their arrival."

- Alejandro Gil, project founder and intrapreneur at Ericsson ONE

How can you solve this challenge?

Think of what we are doing as Waze for wireless cellular quality. It allows autonomous vehicles, drones and other unmanned vehicles to take a route from point A to point B that provides the highest-quality wireless connectivity along the way.

Autonomous vehicles always use two or more cellular service providers for reliability and redundancy purposes. With this solution, we can provide multi-cellular service provider predictions in real time, right before the beginning of each trip (point A) and all the way through to point B. The predications are made for each individual route at that specific point in time.

These predictions are created in partnership with cellular service providers so that we can address the needs of each vehicle, while achieving Ericsson’s mission of maximizing the value of connectivity for cellular service providers.

What’s is the next step for you?

We’re currently trialing the service with one autonomous vehicle company and a Tier 1 service provider in North America, and we are in conversations with other companies who are equally excited about the service that we can provide them.

For instance, we recently partnered with Phantom Auto who is enabling autonomy through teleoperation, giving autonomous fleet operators the ability to remotely monitor, guide, and/or operate vehicles from anywhere via their Phantom Core SDK. We are supporting their mission by helping to route the vehicles so that they always have the right connectivity. We are also discussing with two other Tier 1 North American service providers to fully address the redundancy needs of autonomous fleet operators.

Hopefully we will be ready to go to market in the coming months.

Autonomous vehicle route optimization

An evaluation of two possible routes shows one route currently blocked by the city due to temporary construction. The second route is viable but will require switching to a secondary cellular service provider

What are the main benefits of developing your project within Ericsson ONE?

Ericsson ONE has given me the opportunity to pursue an idea that I'm passionate about and given me the support, advice and experience I needed, which comes from the many great minds that work at Ericsson. Working with Ericsson ONE allowed me to tap into an extremely talented pool of engineers and researchers from the Group Data & Analytics and the Network Design and Optimization teams and create a dedicated team to validate and develop the project – and it’s this team that got us where we are today!

Ericsson ONE has also helped me start discussions with autonomous vehicle companies and cellular service providers, allowing me to share our vision and enlist their support.

What drives you to be an intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurship means being able to create something new and unique – just like an entrepreneur – while leveraging the advantages that come with the  backing of a big company.

In our case, the idea would not have been realized without Ericsson ONE and its pipeline for realizing ideas. The resources and competencies of Ericsson gave us this opportunity.  

I’m very passionate about electric and autonomous vehicles and the impact that they will have on our society. Having the opportunity to accelerate their arrival is a wonderful opportunity and experience for me.

Want to know more?

The Ericsson ONE team is always happy to hear from you.

Get in touch