On 6 November, UIC participated in the 5G PPP webinar: 5G for Cooperative, Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM), organised by the Full5G support project on behalf of EU DG Connect.
The webinar opened with a short introduction by Mr Jorge Pereira from the European Commission and ran in two parts, with more than 170 participants representing national authorities and a variety of industries, amongst others, in attendance.
The first part of the webinar provided an overview of ongoing CCAM work and the white paper produced by the three H2020-ICT-18-2018 5G PPP corridor projects. The second part introduced the new CAM-related projects under the 5G-PPP ICT-53-2020 call: 5GBlueprint, 5GMED, 5G-ROUTES and 5GRail.
The challenge for the ICT-53 projects is to qualify and characterise the latest version of 5G specifications, available as from 3G PP release 16 in early 2020, in the context of advanced use case deployment in Europe of CAM, which may also benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Use cases beyond C-ITS safety applications are being targeted with a view to enabling use cases in the context of complete connectivity-enabled ecosystems around cars and vehicles. This supports the strategic objective of having all major transport routes covered with 5G connectivity by 2025 through cross-border trials along major transport routes planned for CAM deployment (“5G corridors”), and paves the way towards operational deployment as envisaged with the Connecting Europe Facility proposal. The work is also relevant to cross-border railway corridors with a view to providing services to trains, including in the context of the planned Future Railways Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) planned to replace GSM-R around 2030.
In this context, this webinar provided an opportunity for Mr Jean-Michel Evanghelou, UIC Head of Telecom and Signalling, to provide an overview of the current 5G Rail project and, more broadly, of FRMCS. He began with a reminder of GSM-R. Designed 20 years ago by UIC and completely interoperable across borders, GSM-R has been a tremendous success and is deployed on more than 130,000 kilometres of track in Europe and 210,000 kilometres worldwide. GSM-R supports train radio voice applications, including the Railways Emergency Call (considered to be the best way to avoid a train accident when all other systems have failed) and the European Train Control System (ETCS). With limited data capability, GSM-R also supports other railway applications such as trackside phones, passenger information on platforms, etc. Mr Evanghelou stressed that GSM-R is a worldwide success in terms of deployment.
He added that there was a need to replace GSM-R not only due to its future obsolescence, but also on account of the development of autonomous trains and highly advanced monitoring systems. In this new context, the railways need 5G to be adapted to the railway system. Mr Evanghelou explained that FRMCS is built entirely on 5G, and reminded the participants of UIC’s global strategy and plans for its introduction on behalf of railway companies. “We absolutely needed to have a first pilot for the full ecosystem of FRMCS. 5G Rail, an EU-funded project, which officially started on 1 November 2020, is the second part of the global FRMCS plan. The first part, well advanced, was the specification and standardisation phase, in collaboration with 3GPP and ETSI. The third part will deal with the finalisation of the whole ecosystem, including security and certification technical aspects, for full market readiness and first implementation in Europe under a regulation scheme defined by the European Commission”, he said, noting that FRMCS is a system defined by law.
The 5G Rail project is to undergo a comprehensive pilot. “We have to build here global and concrete solutions that will be adopted by the railways within the next years, and as such interoperability and cross-borders aspects are an absolute must”, said Mr Evanghelou.