- MásMóvil begins a project with Renault Group and others to develop 5G connected vehicles
- Work is already underway in two Spanish cities
- Opportunities in the connected car market are tipped for significant growth this decade
- Telcos are increasingly involved in developing solutions for the autonomous and connected vehicle industry
Spanish network operator MásMóvil has forged relationships with a plethora of big-name automotive and tech industry players for the development of 5G-powered connected automobiles, in what appears to be the latest move in the telco sector to exploit potentially lucrative opportunities in the autonomous vehicle future.
In a statement, the Spanish group unveiled what is dubbed the R3CAV project, in partnership with six other heavyweights: car-maker Renault Group, bus company ALSA, transport solutions provider Indra, artificial intelligence (AI) company Sigma, technology company GMV and manufacturer of electronic and mechatronic products Masermic – read the statement here in Spanish.
Jointly, the companies will develop “adaptable architecture” for both the hardware and software environments, aimed at creating connected vehicles operating at various levels of autonomy. Work has already commenced on two main use cases within the project: one relates to the creation of a prototype of an autonomous vehicle designed for the industrial sector (this is taking place in the Renault Factory in the Spanish city of Palencia); while the other one will see the development of a driverless shuttle that will transport people around Alcobendas, a Madrid municipality. For the latter, work is focused on deploying connectivity systems and communication options, as well as positioning of autonomous navigation systems.
The R3CAV project, according to MásMóvil, will tackle a number of challenges, including the possibilities of managing complex interactions within controlled environments, transporting people in urban areas through the use of an autonomous electric vehicle platform with low supervision; and developing a 5G vehicle communications technology that is capable of providing advance assistance to a driver, can recommend the appropriate actions and can issue notifications whenever manual control is necessary, depending on the situation.
MásMóvil will focus on designing the architecture of mobility services, developing a dynamic connectivity platform, optimising technologies of 5G heterogeneous connectivity and providing cybersecurity capabilities in the vehicle and related infrastructure.
The project is part of Spain’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, which is funded by the Next Generation EU, a temporary recovery instrument of the European Commission, has €800bn in financing to improve the bloc’s economic state, including boosting the automotive sector and addressing sustainable mobility challenges.
Other collaborators on the R3CAV project include seven research centres from universities and technology hubs. According to MásMóvil, the project positions the partners “at the forefront” of the technologies that are needed for the development of future autonomous and connected vehicles.
MásMóvil’s move is yet another confirmation that telcos are eager to participate and grab a share of what is expected to be a very promising sector in the near future. A forecast by market research company Fortune Business Insights has estimated that the global connected car market will grow from $59.70bn in 2021 to $191.83bn in 2028, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1% in the period. Other predictions are even more bullish: a report by Research And Markets suggests the sector will hit $373.4bn by 2030 and highlights that contributing driving forces include increased demand for better experience, the introduction of internet of things (IoT) in vehicles, safety and security concerns and more research and development in the field.
Deutsche Telekom is another example of a telco that is involved in developing connectivity solutions for the autonomous vehicle concept. With the help of Ericsson, the company recently demonstrated how “seamless 5G connectivity works” at the border between Germany and France, as well as between Germany and Luxembourg – see Seamless 5G connectivity: cars warn of road dangers across national borders.
Telefónica is also active in this space, working on a proof of concept with automotive supplier CIE Automotive that will see the implementation of a 5G intralogistics management platform for more efficient internal logistics processes.
And Singtel recently scored a deal with car giant Hyundai to deploy 5G infrastructure network solutions for high-speed connectivity and massive bandwidth to the car-maker’s plant in Singapore – see Singtel spies ‘metaverse for manufacturing’ opportunity with latest private network deal.
Earlier this year, Swisscom announced that it is working on delivering a mobile private network to Holcim and Volvo to monitor and control autonomous electric vehicles.
And in the US, Verizon demonstrated the use of cellular and mobile edge compute (MEC) technology for enabling autonomous driving solutions, such as unmanned last-mile delivery bots and robo-taxis in Las Vegas.
- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV
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