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To improve road safety, drivers would benefit from real- time information about what other vehicles in the vicinity are doing and any changes in road conditions. That information needs to be delivered quickly and securely through a trusted communications mechanism.


DEKRA and Telefónica are testing the use of a secure 5G connection to inform drivers when another vehicle suddenly brakes or has stopped on the road, or when traffic lights ahead are set to turn to red. In each case, the C-V2X communications are carried via Telefónica’s 5G network and are secured by the operator’s digital cyber-security certificates, underpinned by a public key infrastructure (PKI) integrated into the cyber-security node of the European Commission. The solution also makes use of mobile edge compute (MEC) to reduce latency.

Impact & Statistics

Telefónica says the solution can achieve a latency of milliseconds for millions of connected vehicles, thereby enabling drivers to receive the instant information they need to make decisions to avoid dangerous situations. That could ultimately reduce the number of injuries and lives lost in road accidents.

Wider Implications

The integration of a cryptographic-based security layer into 5G is designed to support more reliable and more secure connectivity. By ensuring identity and integrity in vehicular communications, the solution can guarantee trust between the different actors. This could facilitate the development of a secure mobility ecosystem with cross-border interoperability that is fully compliant with European standards.


DEKRA, Nexus, HPE, Harman, CTAG, Telefónica Spain, Telefónica Tech


Millions of connected vehicles could use 5G to communicate securely in real-time

The world’s roads would be much safer if vehicles had a fast and secure way to communicate with each other and surrounding infrastructure. Enhanced with cryptographic-based security, 5G networks could make that happen.

At its facilities in Málaga, DEKRA is testing how 5G can help improve road safety. It is using Telefónica’s 5G network to provide real-time critical communications in three situations. Firstly, enabling a vehicle that suddenly brakes to automatically warn the vehicles behind to prevent accidents and smooth out the flow of traffic. Secondly, enabling a vehicle that has stopped on the road to alert other vehicles. Finally, vehicles driving on the circuit are notified of the colour (phase) of the traffic lights on their route in order to adapt their driving.

In each case, the C-V2X communications are secured using Telefónica’s digital cyber-security certificates. Telefónica uses cryptographic technologies to provide anonymous and interoperable cyber-security certificates that are valid throughout the European Union. The goal is to ensure the integrity of the vehicular communications, thereby creating trust between the different players in the connected mobility ecosystem.

The solution being piloted in Málaga also makes use of mobile edge compute (MEC) to reduce latency. Telefónica is aiming to achieve a latency of milliseconds for millions of connected vehicles, thereby enabling drivers to receive the instant information they need to make decisions and avoid dangerous situations.

However, the solution is still in the early stages of development. “This is a small proof of concept to prove the importance of cyber-security for mobility,” says Leticia López Domingo, expert in innovation and vehicular communications, Telefónica. “Currently, we are testing level 0 (proof of concept level) of the cyber-security solution, with a few devices on a closed environment (the DEKRA V2X circuit). In fact, the European Commission defines level 1 and level 2 as production levels and there is yet no player integrated on those levels.”

Still, the European Commission has recognised the PKI (public key infrastructure) platform developed by Telefónica for the provision of certificates to enable the electronic signing of messages in the European 5G-V2X ecosystem, thus guaranteeing the integrity and availability of the information. This PKI-V2X platform generates and sends batches of anonymous certificates to vehicles, traffic lights and other elements in the ecosystem via 5G. These certificates are then used to digitally sign the messages that are exchanged.

The European Commission has now integrated the platform into its cybersecurity node. “The key step is to deploy a Certification Authority recognised by the European Commission linked to the 5G network for vehicular communications and compliant with the requirements of the C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) standard,” explains Leticia López Domingo. “It is essential to ensure the integrity of the vehicular communications, creating a trusted V2X ecosystem.”

The pilot is also testing a solution to combine the identities of people with the identities of things, to support organisations that need to have control over possession, consumption and traceability in driving, such as vehicle rental and car sharing companies. Telefónica Tech is supplying its IDoT (Identity of Things) identification model, which uses the operator’s TrustOS platform to provide blockchain traceability for events relevant to the vehicle fleet, in strict compliance with the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).


5G can provide responsive and reliable connectivity

Intelligent transport systems depend on high-quality connectivity – the difffferent actors on the roads need to be able to immediately communicate with each other and exchange data. Telefónica says its 5G network, supported by edge computing, can provide massive connectivity, high bandwidth and ultra-low latencies simultaneously to the whole mobility ecosystem

The network is designed to deliver C-V2X data in real time securely and reliably. Secure connectivity is critical to ensure the data is accurate and can be trusted. Inter-vehicle communications need to be protected from any kind of spoofing or “man-in-the- middle” attack.

Telefónica worked with a number of partners to develop the solution being tested in Málaga. Harman, for example, deployed a network function to make the direct and secure vehicular communications more efficient, while CTAG integrated the connectivity module into the vehicles, while also developing the cooperative driving applications. HPE handled solution integration, while Nexus helped in the deployment of the public key infrastructure, ensuring the integrity of each message and the authorization of its sender can be guaranteed, while preserving privacy.

Telefónica says 5G networks are a key part of its “next generation communications infrastructure” to enable new businesses, and support economic development and digital transformation of many sectors. Telefónica is aiming to guarantee the integrity, availability and confidentiality of the information carried over its 5G networks. In the case of the V2X ecosystem, Telefónica has positioned itself
as a trusted third party for the signing of messages in the European V2X ecosystem. That means end customers can use certificates generated by Telefónica without the need to undergo audits or prior registration.

For example, a general traffic department, other public entities, infrastructures and other users will be able to request certificates from the Certification Authority managed by Telefónica España, which will have specific permissions to sign messages with different characteristics. For example, a general traffic department could send a warning of traffic jam 2km ahead, a city hall could send a message saying only electric vehicles are allowed on a specific road, while infrastructure could communicate there is a red light at 150 metres, and a vehicle might flag it is emergency braking.

This service is being designed according to ETSI standards in order to comply with the requirements and audit requirements of European organizations and will be deployed with the necessary capabilities to ensure service availability in the face of massive demand.

Leticia López Domingo

Expert in Innovation and Vehicular Communications, Telefónica


Protecting privacy by guaranteeing anonymity

Telefónica’s PKI platform has a root certificate that digitally identifies Telefónica’s Certification Authority, which is sent to the European Commission’s Central Point of Contact to be included in the list of trusted entities at a European level (ECTL – European Certificate Trusted List). In line with data protection and privacy regulations for individuals, the certificates provided to vehicles are anonymous to prevent the tracking of vehicle activity and therefore of individuals.

This approach ensures compliance with the GDPR. For the V2X-PKI platform, the next step will be to test interoperability with other V2X-PKI platforms from other trusted third parties. Currently, the V2X PKI platform is registered at level 0 (the proof of concept level) established by the European Commission. It now has to evolve to TLM level 1 (pre-production level) and finally TLM2 (production level). The Trust List Manager (TLM) is the entity that is in charge of managing the different companies integrated into the security solution. According to the standard, the TLM is responsible for approving or rejecting the insertion of a Root CA certificate in the Certificate Trust List (CTL) in accordance with the Policy Authority, as specified in ETSI TS 102 940.

This is a feature that makes them different from the rest of digital certificates that exist in other technology sectors, where precisely is intended to ensure the identity of the interacting entities.

Leticia López Domingo

Expert in Innovation and Vehicular Communications, Telefónica


Future plans network slicing may be a reality in 2024

Telefonica is preparing to rollout 5G SA (standalone) networks. These networks will have a 5G core that can support network slicing, enabling the 5G connectivity to be subdivided into multiple sub-networks that can be adapted to the demands of each customer in each use case. In the specific case of mobility, a specific sub-network will be dedicated to vehicular communications in order to guarantee such communications, separating them from other mobile traffic.

By 2024, Telefónica is hoping to create a specific 5G network for safety use cases with ultra-low latency requirements, and another sub-network for infotainment use cases where bandwidth is more important than low latency. “This capability together with the development of applications running on the edge will be essential elements for the democratization of connected vehicle and the future autonomous vehicle by being able to guarantee service at all times,” says Alejandro Alonso Portero, 5G innovation expert at Telefónica.

In the meantime, the telco is looking for Europe to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. by defining the V2X technology on which these communications will be established. The U.S. has opted for C-V2X technology. “We hope that Europe will soon decide to go for C-V2X as well. It is a preliminary and essential step to frame the scenario of future Smart Mobility,” adds Alejandro Alonso Portero.

There needs to be a firm commitment from the European Commission to C-V2X technology, so that vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and others integrate this technology into the different elements of the mobility ecosystem. Once this technology is adopted, we believe that the first implementation will be in the field of smart roads (tunnels, tolls, reinforcement of safety in black spots, etc.) and then to smart cities where the priority will be the safety of the vulnerable user such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Alejandro Alonso Portero

5G Innovation Expert, Telefónica



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