Implications of C-V2X for the mobile and automotive sectors

On 9 October, GSMA Europe hosted a Mobile Meetings Series on Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology and its implications for the mobile and automotive sectors. The event explored, among other aspects, the challenges posed by the Delegated Act on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) currently being drafted by the European Commission and expected to be adopted in early 2019.

Connected and autonomous vehicles are expected to have a dramatic impact on our lives, from improving safety to reducing carbon footprint, to improving congestion. The creation of a single European market for connected and autonomous driving will depend on the common standards underpinning these technologies. The cellular technology C-V2X, based on LTE, is a standard which connects vehicles to each other to roadside infrastructure as well as to networks, thus creating a single platform. The technology is globally renowned for its extremely low latency and capacity for high-speed use cases. Despite these advantages, the current version of the Delegated Act on C-ITS is only contemplating a Wi-Fi based technology, known as ITS-G5. Effectively mandating a common standard technology will have far-reaching consequences across the connected car, telecom and automotive industry.

All participants agreed that in general, a long-term vision on the future of mobility in the European Union (EU) is needed, with a focus on automation, connectivity and data exchange. A common and co-ordinated EU strategy for the future of mobility will help actors in the ecosystem. This will provide the clarity needed to secure long-term investment, innovation and ultimately maximise the benefits for European citizens.
The Delegated Act on C-ITS will indicate the direction of the EU’s future common standard for intelligent transport. Several participants expressed their concern that a Commission’s choice for Wi-Fi technology bears the risk of hindering long-term innovation. Instead, most participants favoured technology neutrality. This would allow industry to keep innovating and to eventually adopt the standard which fits the needs of tomorrow’s society best. Part of the discussion focused on whether a planned revision clause in the Delegated Act would allow for a sufficient degree of openness, notably enabling the inclusion of C-V2X at a later stage.

Most participants stressed however, that ambiguity concerning the EU’s common standard for intelligent transport will hamper investments. This situation contrasts with the U.S. and China, where governments have either remained neutral or provided full support to C-V2X. Other participants argued that co-existence of services is not feasible.
Throughout the discussion, several participants emphasized the necessity of a user-oriented approach. Geographic coverage will largely determine whether the consumer will benefit from connected car technology. Even though most participants welcomed 5G technology and its applications, some were sceptical whether it could offer coverage in the short term in the same way that 4G does. Participants agreed that a final choice of a common standard should also depend on its ability to deliver on the promises of road safety, environmental and urban congestion.

Regulatory certainty is needed for both the telecom and automotive sectors to invest in the technology and to develop new business models.

Hosted in our offices, the Mobile Meetings Series are small scale – but big scope – invitation only events for the Brussels public policy audience. Join us for a different take on the main issues affecting the mobile communications industry and its place in Europe’s information society.

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Take a look at our previous events