Nokia and KDDI demonstrate 4G can be used for connected car

Autonomous vehicles and the connected car have been one of the front-runners for 5G investments, but in demonstrating 4G can be used as low-latency connectivity for vehicles, has Nokia undermined its 5G mission?

This is part of the issue for the telcos when it comes to investments for 5G; the messaging is very messy. It will be an expensive mission to upgrade the world to the fifth generation of mobile networks, therefore sound business cases for ROI are needed, with autonomous vehicles and the connected car near the top of the list. But if this usecase can be delivered over 4G, does this undermine the desperation for the superfast, low latency networks?

5G will of course be better, but we don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. This isn’t exactly a press release which encourages the telcos to go all in on the new networks.

The pair now claim to have successfully demonstrated the use of LTE in Japan to deliver cost-efficient, low-latency connectivity for vehicles, using the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service standard in two connected car applications, and demonstrating the potential of cellular technology to enable fully automated driving in the future.

The Nokia evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast service (eMBMS) hotspot solution, allows data to be sent once to many users simultaneously, which in this trial, allowed real-time information to be shared with multiple vehicles to cost-effectively enable awareness and road safety. In this example, Vehicle-to-network-to-vehicle (V2N2V) and Network Real-Time Kinematic (network RTK), were the applications demonstrated.

“We are pleased to work with Nokia to demonstrate our leadership in the delivery of mobile networks for IoT and connected car communications,” said Munefumi Tsurusawa, GM for Connected Vehicle Technology Department, Technical Planning Division at KDDI Corporation. “This is an important trial showing how the automotive industry can leverage cellular technology to enhance safety of connect vehicles on the roads.”

“Nokia has a comprehensive solution package for V2X based on its MEC platform and eMBMS hotspot solution aiming to cost-effectively accelerate the adoption of vehicle-to-everything communication,” said Uwe Puetzschler, Head of Car2X at Nokia. “While manual intervention was used in the proof-of-concept trials, a clear evolution path to 5G will enable operators such as KDDI to support the widespread adoption of automated vehicles.”

It is no secret 4G and 5G networks will live alongside each other in harmony for at least the first few years of deployment, however you have to wonder whether Nokia has shot itself in the foot here. Huawei took the 4G world by storm, with Ericsson and Nokia both waiting on the 5G revolution to recoup lost fortunes, it is certainly a brave move to send out press releases which potentially undermine one of the leading 5G usecases.

Samsung and KDDI break 5G speed record

On the day the latest issue of the Guinness Book of Records is released, one of the most obscure is broken in Korea.

The 5G speed record in this case is not data throughput but the ability of 5G to work with a fast-moving vehicle. Samsung and Japanese telco KDDI conducted a demo at Everland Speedway in South Korea in which a vehicle accelerated from 0 to 205 km/h and they still managed to zap it with lovely, high capacity mmWaves, apparently for the first time. They even managed to hand over between base stations and everything.

“It is becoming increasingly important that we accelerate our focus on 5G’s ability to meet a growing number of performance metrics,” said Woojune Kim, Head of Next Generation Strategy at Samsung’s Networks Business. “Until now, peak bandwidth has been the common refrain, and certainly a big component of the future of 5G. However, the test we conducted with KDDI will help us build a more diverse portfolio of future 5G use cases.”

“The trial successfully showcased stable performance under high-speed mobility conditions which will dramatically increase the service experience of users in vehicles,” said Akira Matsunaga, Senior Director of Mobile Network Technical Development at KDDI. “We will continue our joint efforts with Samsung to test next generation technology to unprecedented levels and discover new service cases.”

The reason all this is a big deal, we’re told, is the potential offered by new and highly specialised service scenarios enabled by 5G. In this case we’re looking at connected cars, of course, but also public transport in smart cities and presumably things like drones. If you don’t believe they broke the record then here’s a vid that proves it.