Connected traffic: Europe relies on WLAN instead of 5G

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A on Tuesday (March 19, 2019) competitions for the fifth generation of mobile communications, or 5G for short, will start in Germany. It will be a while before the new, ultra-fast mobile Internet is available nationwide in Germany. The expansion will start in 2020, if not 2021 at the earliest, and so far it is unclear when 5G will be widespread in this country.

C-ITS is mature, tested and already available

That has Effects on networked, highly automated traffic. This requires cooperative intelligent traffic systems in which vehicles communicate with other road users and the road infrastructure. They can either do this directly among themselves, using the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) standard. Or over the cellular network via 5G, also known as C-V2X. The European Commission has now decided in a regulation to initially rely on C-ITS.

C-ITS uses the WLAN standard 802.11p, which is also known as pWLAN or ITS-G5. This was developed precisely for this purpose and is mature, tested and already available. This is intended to accelerate the spread of cooperative and intelligent transport systems. The aim is to make traffic cleaner, safer and more efficient as quickly as possible and to give European car manufacturers a time advantage. The regulation should come into force on January 1, 2020. In the next two months, however, the EU Parliament and the member states can raise objections.

C-ITS should be able to communicate with other standards

The C-ITS standard should be used for time-critical services can be used, for example when there is an end of traffic jam behind the next bend or when warnings of bad weather. Less urgent applications should work with the current 3G and 4G standards. The goal, however, is a hybrid communication mix with different cellular standards. In other words: As soon as 5G is available, it should complement the existing C-ITS structure. The C-ITS stations should then also exchange messages in an open network with stations or vehicles that actually use 5G.

The EU decision in favor of C-ITS is particularly remarkable from a geopolitical point of view. The standard is similar to the American system DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication), which also works with WLAN. China, on the other hand, relies fully on the 5G card. Just like the car manufacturers Audi, BMW and Daimler, who are united with many other tech and IT companies in the '5G Automotive Association'. Still shouldthe European directive means that you and your suppliers have to develop networked systems twice: once according to the C-ITS or DSRC standard and once according to 5G specifications


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