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“We joined the Horizon 2020 project 5G-CroCo (‘Fifth Generation Cross-Border Control’) to validate and optimise the use of 5G mobile technology,” says Bernhard Jäckel, Key Account Manager at POST Telecom. “Our aim is to develop new, innovative business models together with our partners that could yield new revenues.”

The international partnership behind 5G-CroCo will tackle the challenge of providing uninterrupted connectivity to automated and connected cars that cross national borders and thus switch from the mobile network of one country to that of another. When this happens connectivity is momentarily lost, and even a second or so of interruption can be dramatic for a connected car whose progress is completely reliant on mobile data. The project partners will test how this can be improved using 5G technology. Luxembourg will be at the centre of the action, as the testing will be done on the automotive cross-border testbed connecting Metz in France, Merzig in Germany and the south of Luxembourg.

Connected cars and big data

5G-CroCo ties well in with Luxembourg’s strategic priorities of developing the automotive sector, notably in the field of autonomous driving, and the capacity to treat and derive value from big data. The Ministry of the Economy put in place the cross-border testbed together with its French and German counterparts and encourages national organisations to get involved in Horizon 2020 projects related to these topics.

POST’s role is notably to provide 5G infrastructure at the French and German borders. A second Luxembourg-based project partner, SEC Consult, will work on cybersecurity aspects – a major issue for driving connected cars safely. “We take part in order to continue to build up our position as one of the market leaders in the field of cybersecurity,” says Managing Director Torsten Töllner. “When 5G technology is widely deployed, we will be able to benefit from the knowledge that we have gained through 5G-CroCo.”

Navigating Horizon 2020

Successfully preparing and conducting a Horizon 2020 project can be rather complex, especially for organisations that are participating for the first time. POST and SEC Consult worked together with Luxinnovation, the National Contact Point for Horizon 2020, when finalising the project. The agency’s EU funding team provided help with legal and financial rules and with drawing up solid partnership agreements taking into account who will have the right to use future project results. Advice was also provided by the manager of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster.

“Horizon 2020 projects are demanding in terms of administrative processes that tend to change very quickly,” says Mr Jäckel. “It is therefore very helpful to have a partner like Luxinnovation that is always up to date and in possession of all necessary information. This helped us make sure that the project evolved in a positive way.” He also commends the efforts of the government to promote this and similar projects.

Mr Töllner agrees: “Support similar to that provided by Luxinnovation and the ministry is hard to find in other European countries. Decision processes are brief, and it is even possible to work together and discuss with the Minister of the Economy on this type of flagship project.”

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