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Fifth Generation Cross-Border Control

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - 5GCroCo (Fifth Generation Cross-Border Control)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2022-06-30

5G connectivity has the potential to tremendously simplify today’s purely sensor-based approach to automated driving where it is a difficult task to anticipate what other vehicles intend to do by just using local sensor-based information. However, services for Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) applications demand uninterrupted network connectivity. In Europe, where Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) usually only serve a single country, this is especially challenging when driving through national borders. Currently, vehicles search and register with an MNO in the country they enter only after the MNO connection in the country of origin is lost, which can interrupt the service for several minutes. Clearly, this situation is not acceptable for CAM services where service continuity is key. In this context, 5GCroCo research focuses on 5G-related technologies that can (i) enhance CAM functionalities and (ii) enable seamless service continuity at country borders.
Using 5G as a reliable communication technology in CAM applications, including when traversing country borders, improves assisted and automated driving systems that without doubt have a tremendous impact on safety. The benefits can start with simple scenarios like providing up-to-date information about speed limits that are then obeyed by the Adaptive Cruise Control assistance system. The benefits can go on to more complex scenarios where automated vehicles share their intention and eventually even cooperatively agree on manoeuvres.
In this context, the overall objective of the project was to trial and validate different 5G technical solutions (i) that enhance CAM services, like MEC and QoS prediction, and (ii) that minimize the service interruption time when traversing a country border, like cross-MNO handover. For the latter, the project concluded that it is technically feasible to have service interruption times when crossing a border as short as 120 ms, allowing the continuity of CAM services.
5GCroCo specified in detail the three use cases ToD, HD Mapping, and ACCA that were validated in a cross-border scenario. For each use case, 5GCroCo defined different user stories, the conditions of the test cases associated to each user story, the monitored KPIs per user story, and the locations where the test and trials were demonstrated.
In addition, 5GCroCo defined and implemented the required software and hardware of the applications that compose the use cases and the hardware and software architecture of the required network and IT infrastructure. Network architectures providing solutions for cross-border handover, cross-MNO Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN), Quality of Service (QoS) prediction, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), and precise positioning were specified both for the NSA and SA flavours of 5G. Interoperability issues were analysed and potential solutions, discussed.
All test and trials for the use cases were carried out, including cross-border tests and trials and dedicated KPIs were measured and analysed. Beyond the feasibility of each use case, which was proven, the test and trials brought essential results on first 5G deployments and cross-border handover: 5GCroCo proved that seamless service continuity on 5G networks can be guaranteed across borders. The service continuity solution implemented in 5GCroCo is achieved through a cross-border/-MNO handover, which results in an almost imperceptible service interruption time of around 120 ms. The importance of 5G for each one of 5GCroCo’s use cases was analysed. It was concluded that CAM services will benefit from 5G and, especially, from 5G SA. Generally speaking, 5G brings down the overall network latency compared to 4G and also enhances the throughput as it was expected.
5GCroCo analysed potential gaps which need to be covered and developed to guarantee the success of any business case for CAM based on 5G. Moreover, work was dedicated to the identification of the assumptions that the different stakeholders in the CAM ecosystem need to make to devise the market development directions. These assumptions are wide and may cover complementary future developments due to the still unknown directions that regulations, market development and technologies will take. Costs’ sources for the deployment of the 5GCroCo scenarios and beyond were identified. The cost analysis was performed from a sector/role perspective, identifying what are the main costs due to the materialization of CAM for each of the involved stakeholders. Cost analysis was used to discuss the potentials and barriers of the different applications considered in the project. In addition, an estimation of the cost of the infrastructure deployment in the corridor areas considered in 5GCroCo was also provided.
5GCroCo analysed and monitored several standardization, pre-standardization, and regulatory bodies that are related with the project objectives. Potential gaps and requirements that may affect the smooth realization or delay of the development of 5G CAM services in cross-border environments were identified. 5GCroCo partners successfully provided 40 contributions to 3GPP, 5 contributions to ETSI ITS and 66 contributions to 5GAA. A spectrum-related analysis was also conducted to understand if there are new spectrum needs and open issues by the realization of 5GCroCo CAM services.
5GCroCo partners disseminated project results in academia and industry fora through various activities. Diverse means (e.g. webinars, social media, website, international fora, regular newsletters, etc.) were prepared and used to promote the 5GCroCo concepts and outcomes. 5GCroCo collaborated with 5G PPP projects and other relevant 5G initiatives (e.g. 5GAA). Interactions with stakeholders (e.g. GSMA, AECA, C-ROADS platform, BEREC) helped 5GCroCo to ensure maximum impact and visibility of project results. 5GCroCo participated to several events (e.g. MWC, EuCNC, ITS European Congress), contributed to different whitepapers, and submitted joint and individual papers to conferences and journals. During the last year of the project execution, specific effort was dedicated to demonstrations, with the 5GCroCo Demo Day being one of the project highlights.
5GCroCo has demonstrated the technical feasibility of providing CAM services cross borders. Moreover, 5GCroCo has compared three different continuity service solutions for a cross-border handover: cross-MNO, Release with Redirect (RwR) with and without S10 interface. 5GCroCo has implemented cross-MNO handover, resulting in a service interruption time of around 120 ms. When an S10 interface is available, RwR achieves interruption times around 730 ms, which go up several seconds if the S10 interface is not available. In the latter case, the connection breaks and needs to be reestablished, which took more than 6 seconds with the devices used in the conducted trials. However, even the 6 s are better than the current situation at the border where the connection is dropped and a connection to the visited network is occurring only after several minutes when being away enough from the home network.
Implementing service continuity across European borders opens the field for new pan-European business opportunities, where CAM services will have a relevant role. It is a step forward in the integration of the European Union.
5GCroCo Project Summary
Cross-Border/-MNO Service Continuity Solutions