Live Trial of 5G Connected Car Concept Launches in Blacksburg, Virginia (VA)

Press Release 23 Mar. 2022

Live Trial of 5G Connected Car Concept Launches in Blacksburg, Virginia (VA)

The international collaboration of tech leaders and public sector on a live connected car trial will pilot new roaming technology for traffic safety.

March 24th, 2022 – (Blacksburg, VA) On March 24th the Commonwealth of Virginia will host a live trial of new driver and pedestrian safety concept that allows near-real-time notification of roadway hazards through 5G and edge technologies. This trial is one of three conducted internationally by a historic public-private collaboration, organized by the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) and eight member companies representing leading technology companies from around the globe. A related European live-trial was conducted in the city of Turin, Italy. The North American live trial will be conducted on the Virginia Smart Road operated by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in Blacksburg, VA. It is the first of its kind in North America.

“The 5G Automotive Association lives out of cooperation between its members. In this case, eight members led by Intel and Verizon give a perfect example of how we can use connected mobility to increase safety on our roads,” said Maxime Flament, CTO of 5GAA. “5GAA is also global and we are happy that use cases demonstrated here in United States can readily be adapted in any other country supporting 5G and Edge networks.”

5G transmission speeds and so-called “Edge” servers—locally installed, high-powered computers capable of running Artificial Intelligence programs—open the door to smart city technologies like near real-time traffic management and innumerable other business applications. The connected car concept uses this high-speed and Edge computing technology to communicate with car sensors and pedestrian smartphones, via a user-authorized mobile app—about traffic hazards, like accidents and road construction—for Pedestrian and in-vehicle driver safety and efficient navigation.

This live international trial attempts to solve one of the more technical challenges of making the connected car concept a daily reality. The 5G networks underpinning the concept are managed by Communication Service Providers (CoSPs) according to geography, each with different edge solutions that must be able to communicate without interruption of the V2X applications as drivers cross borders. Roaming services—the ability to make a call regardless of the network—is one early success of multi-mobile network operators (MNO). Demonstrating the connected car concept can work in a roaming scenario is the core objective of the live trial and represents the first of any such attempt in the United States.

“Telecom operators will have to play a major role by enabling applications and services for the connected car ecosystem,” says Shamik Mishra, CTO Connectivity, Capgemini Engineering. He further adds: “Capgemini is excited to bring its innovative federated MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing) platform and applications to this 5GAA trial to demonstrate the true value of intelligent industry, leveraging data in the vehicles and edge-cloud. The trials serve as a stepping-stone for realizing the potential for automakers to provide services to their connected cars from the network.”

The Virginia live trial addresses three objectives:

  • Objective 1: Multi-MNO scenario: How can a vehicle, which has radio access to MNO A, use a MEC application, which is operated by MNO B -> Interworking between MNO‘s (by NOT losing the benefits of low latency) 
  • Objective 2: Global operational Availability: How can an OEM as the MEC application developer be sure, especially on a global basis, that a MEC application works in the same way if it’s operated by MNO A, or if it’s operated by MNO B
  • Objective 3: Multi-MNO with roaming scenario: Where the two operators can seamlessly transfer the V2X service from one operator to the other as the car OEM moves from one geo to the other in a roaming scenario. Typically, when an in-vehicle driver does a cross-border travel that involves two operators.

One of the key benefits of the trial is the value demonstrated by bringing in a large ecosystem to help develop not only the technology but also build the business case and model that will help drive the potential market adoption for 5G and C-V2X to help into the digital transformation of smart cities of the future. To succeed in this endeavor, it will need a village and investment from both public and private sectors to help adopt this new technology to provide a quality of life for all citizens.

The demonstration brings new learnings for various players across the value chain and creates a testbed for trying out new 5G connected car services at the Edge in subsequent phases. The U.S.  Live Trial will take place in Blacksburg, VA, on March 24th, 2022.


In this live trial, Verizon and TELUS are exhibiting the Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) 5G networking capabilities, such as hosting Capgemini’s ENSCONCE MEC platform, built upon the Intel      Smart Edge Open toolkit, to enable connected car use cases at the edge on Intel Architecture-based EC2 instances on AWS Wavelength. Intel Smart Edge Open (formerly known as OpenNESS) is a royalty-free edge computing software toolkit for building optimized and performant edge platforms.

“Intel is proud to be a leading member of this live trial to build and provision Infrastructure to enhance Connected Vehicle experience in multi-operator scenarios,” said Sameer Sharma, General Manager of Cities & Transportation Business Unit at Intel. “This demonstration shows how cloud service providers and communication service providers can advance road infrastructure deployments at the 5G network edge when powered by Intel technologies. This is just the beginning, as future trial phases will demonstrate additional exciting services”

Capgemini’s ENSCONCE MEC Platform also enables multi-tenancy and multi-MNO MEC federation capabilities based on GSMA Operator Platform requirements and comes with Capgemini V2X Stack built-in support. To realize the Active and Passive Vulnerable Road User (VRU) use cases, the AWS Wavelength EC2 instances are used to demonstrate Virtual-RSU and host V2X applications that are based on the Intel      Xeon      Scalable Processors. Harman International and Capgemini provide the Virtual-RSU and RSE solutions respectively to realize various V2X use cases with location aware and AI inferencing technologies. Harman also offers a 5G enabled OBU that integrates seamlessly with Stellantis/FCA car and hosts V2X applications. American Tower in collaboration with VTTI is providing the test bed infrastructure at the VTTI intersection where the trial for V-DOT will be performed.

“Since joining 5GAA in 2018, we have worked with public and private partners to help define the ecosystem for scalable cellular-based roadside infrastructure to serve the 5G connected vehicle.” Said Ed Knapp, CTO of American Tower. “By deploying C-V2X in combination with roadside sensors processed at shared multi-access edge computing facilities, also known as MEC4auto, American Tower hopes to enable deployments of seamless multi-operator MEC services to support low latency use cases.”

“The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), along with our Virginia Department of Transportation partners, is excited to support the demonstration of the MEC4Auto solution on the Virginia Smart Roads. The connected car concept provides reliable, low latency communications that can enable a variety of transportation safety use cases. This V2X technology takes a big step towards scalable deployment by demonstrating the seamless transfer of V2X services between operators and geographic locations with no change in performance, functionality, and reliability.”  Said Dr. Michael Mollenhauer, Director, Division of Technology Implementation at VTTI.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has a mission to ensure the safe, efficient, and accessible travel of people and goods across the Commonwealth,” explained Amanda Hamm, VDOT’s Connected and Automated Vehicle Program Manager. “To achieve this mission, VDOT supports innovative solutions and partnerships, like this historic trial, to bring the connected vehicle ecosystem to fruition, as this environment could one day save lives by providing actionable, real-time information to all roadway users so that they better navigate our roadways.”

“Making roads safer for drivers and pedestrians is the ultimate goal of developing these next generation technologies,” said Ned Curic, Stellantis Chief Technology Officer. “The Jeep® Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid is the perfect vehicle for these live tests, equipped with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies and driver safety alert. With 5GAA, we are working with industry leaders across the globe to help pave the way for autonomous technology to benefit our products and, ultimately, our customers”

“Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength brings AWS compute and storage services to the edge of Verizon’s wireless network minimizing the latency and network hops required to connect from an application hosted on AWS to the end user’s device,” said Jyoti Sharma, Senior Manager of Network Planning at Verizon. “Through our partnership with AWS, we are helping customers unlock the true potential of 5G and edge computing which together will enable innovative applications involving computer vision, augmented and virtual reality, and machine learning.”

Connected mobility is quickly becoming a reality, and thanks to ultra-low latency of 5G and power of edge computing, it will deliver on important safety outcomes for everyone on our roads in a near future,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer, TELUS. “TELUS is proud to offer our world-leading connectivity, alongside this prestigious group of partners, in order to realize this trial and maximize our learning for the future.”

“At HARMAN, we are focused on building connectivity solutions at the intersection of 5G, V2X & Edge Computing that will build more equity on the road for all users,” said Mahsa Nakhjiri, Director, Product Management at HARMAN. “While these technologies can unlock many new use cases and experiences, the most important element of any solution in this space is safety.  As programs such as this one fueled by the collaboration of industry leaders and organizations like 5GAA bring a new degree of safety to users, they will also lead to a higher level of confidence in autonomous vehicles.”

Source: Harbor Research1.