A safe and efficient road network is an essential requirement for any community. The European Union has launched a “vision zero” strategy to achieve zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2050.

With the support of Luxinnovation, HITEC wanted to contribute to this by joining the 5G-Safe-Plus project. Its aim is to provide vehicles, users and third parties with advanced, reliable and scalable services in emergency road safety situations using the new 5G cellular communications.

An ambitious international project

The 5G-Safe-Plus project is a 3-year international project that ends in June 2023. It brings together partners from Finland, Romania, Canada and Luxembourg. It focuses on the study, implementation and large-scale use of advanced road weather, safety, road maintenance and navigation services through information source networking capabilities and 5G cellular communication tools.

It relies both on data from the on-board sensors of today’s vehicles, or on dynamic highway equipment (including cameras) that can provide various advanced services: the automatic detection of incidents, broken down vehicles and, in some contexts, strong wind, heavy rain or slippery roads. The use of this information could optimise road maintenance interventions and improve the weather forecasting process. The objective is to test a range of practical cases in real conditions and in real time.

Until now, the adoption of such ‘critical’ services has suffered from poor communications. 5G should bring a first evolution with very low latency and dedicated bandwidth (slicing). To ensure a smooth transition to a “5G world” and maximise reliability, the project envisages hybrid network environments, including 4G/LTE, 5G, ITS-G5 and satellite communication, for example. The idea is to connect all relevant stakeholders to each other via the most optimal means of communication.

However, this connectivity has also increased security vulnerabilities, making cyberattacks in transport and malware intrusions a critical issue for people’s lives. Preventing threats in real time is one of the major challenges of this project.

Use cases already operational in Luxembourg

Several use cases are being tested on the three pilot sites located in Canada, Finland and the south of Luxembourg. The particularities of the Luxembourg network motivated the location of the pilot site near a tunnel and a major interchange, a critical area from the point of view of road traffic management. This area has the advantage of being covered by Post’s 5G network. This privileged situation makes it possible to address the issues of intervention on the road network for maintenance operations and routine work through:

– automatic incident detection when approaching the critical zone,

– real-time maintenance supervision,

– hybrid connectivity between transmission modes to extend the coverage of the transmission network,

– critical services with very low latency, in particular interaction with vulnerable users (e.g. pedestrians).

All these use cases are tested via a C-ITS platform developed to ensure accurate, qualified and up-to-date information exchanges. Located at the centre of the V2X equipment architecture, it ensures high-performance connectivity for direct access to data or via the core network to all interested parties.

Encouraging preliminary results

Preliminary results from the summer of 2022 show the ability to broadcast an incident alert to a vehicle (I2V) in less than 300 ms using 4G/LTE and ITS-G5 networks, compared to several seconds using traditional methods. This value can even reach about 67 ms if direct vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication is allowed.

These results are consistent with those of the project partners. Future tests will have to confirm values of around 15 ms expected with the use of 5G.

“These results are very encouraging. Such a technological solution makes it possible to envisage an adequate decision by road managers or users in several critical situations and to save precious seconds in order to avoid accidents or over-accidents,” says Mr Djedai, Manager ITS and traffic at HITEC Luxembourg.

In the future, the generalisation of 5G applied to intelligent transport systems will facilitate the adoption of Level 4 and 5 automated and connected vehicles (buses, shuttles, robot-taxis, etc.) which require higher commercial speeds in complete safety. “However, projects that address the exchange of cooperative V2X messages between autonomous vehicles and the infrastructure are limited because no standard has yet been adopted. These are the issues that HITEC wants to solve within the Luxembourg ecosystem,” concludes Mr Djedai.

To be continued…

In Luxembourg, the tests will continue at the end of the year as soon as the equipment compatible with the most recent 5G standards (URLLC Rel. 16), which are slow to become available due to the shortage of electronic components, is received.

One thing is certain: at the end of the project, the 5G-Safe-Plus services will be able to contribute to the opening up of real-time intelligent mobility data thanks to their availability in the form of interoperable standards and thus foster the exchange with public and private third parties for the development of other innovative services.

“HITEC demonstrates the capacity of the Luxembourg ecosystem to contribute on the European scene to the emergence of a connected mobility, more autonomous but above all safer for all road users”, notes Anthony Auert, manager of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster of Luxinnovation.



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