Feb
10
2020

Opinion

Connectivity, the key enabler of future mobility

In the next 30 years, the world will experience a total transformation in mobility as we know it today. There are many factors at stake here, including worsening air quality and the environmental impact of vehicles, restrictions on driving private cars in large cities, the ageing of the general population and greater vehicle automation. Coupled with the strategic policies established by the Governments and other administrations, these pressing issues will all hasten a change in our present model to improve and overhaul mobility. The end goal is for us to make public and private transport more efficient and well-coordinated, minimising and, in the best-case scenario, neutralising, any environmental impact.

Connectivity will play an essential role in this field, not only in cities and urban areas, but also in rural regions, with heterogeneous communication networks that mix and match the next-generation technologies managed by different stakeholders (administrations, mobile operators, infrastructure managers, car manufacturers, mobility service providers, etc.). All of this will occur – and this is fundamental – while users travel seamlessly and easily throughout the territory without even being aware of this underlying complexity.

This is the scenario with which we are working on through a wide range of different laboratories and pilot projects that are highly collaborative and open. The hybridisation of numerous technologies, including C-V2X, PC5, ITS-G5 and 5G, and vehicle processing capacities – both inside vehicles and between them – are core technological advances. We are also facing the challenge of designing, deploying and managing communication networks in a whole new way from how it has ever been done before.

Another issue we must bear in mind is that the majority of this equipment (or infrastructure) must be located right next to roadways and marginally self-sufficient. These vehicle communication infrastructures, to handle limited access to energy, must also be able to power themselves and process information locally along tens of thousands of kilometres of roads and motorways.

This is one of the greatest challenges facing this business and deployment model. Making the use of low-power and self-sustainable equipment with high-processing speeds accessible to all users will prove absolutely essential for these types of networks to even become feasible in upcoming years.

Speaking of such a large-scale and far-reaching project raises scores of questions. Will services be wholly provided by the infrastructure of a single operator? Will each operator have full coverage? Could operators share coverage? How will revenue be earned from such an infrastructure? And if the sector of next-generation mobility, logistics and transport services does have a well-defined road map, will it ensure their increased efficiency and competitiveness?

These questions, as well as others that are bound to arise, must all be answered. This is why we must work on collaborative projects in real settings with the overriding goal of creating more flexible communication and transport infrastructures; infrastructures that are, above all, environmentally friendly and that are open to new stakeholders who can transform our daily travel and commuting experiences in the best way possible to meet society’s real needs.

 

Raül Gonzàlez

Senior Product Manager – Connected Mobility at Cellnex

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