DT wins award for "real-time communication between vehicles"

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Letting the car take you to your destination safely and comfortably instead of driving it yourself – that’s something many drivers dream of. Deutsche Telekom is helping to make this dream come true, and the Group received an award for these efforts from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs at CeBIT.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy presented Deutsche Telekom with an award as part of an initiative called "Germany’s best projects for intelligent connectivity". Together with its partners, Continental, Fraunhofer ESK and Nokia, the Group won the first prize in the "Traffic" category for the project at the digital A9 motorway test bed. Over the course of last year, this project demonstrated real-time communication between vehicles over the LTE mobile communications network.

How driving can become much safer in the future

"We proved something that could only be shown in association with partners: the fact that mobile communications networks generate real added value in practical applications like this one. The project is also designed to improve our understanding of the automobile industry’s needs," explained DT project manager Stephan Berg, delighted about winning the award.

"The development of 5G technology has reached an exciting stage worldwide. It isn’t just being discussed anymore, it’s also being tested. Our joint project illustrates how driving can become much safer in the future," added CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, who accepted the award. "It is made possible by an intelligent infrastructure that adapts to people’s respective needs. In this case, it drastically shortens reaction times and helps to avoid dangerous situations."

Data in real time

To allow cars to drive themselves, the vehicles must receive data in real time – and real time means just a few milliseconds. This is now feasible thanks to so-called "mobile-edge computing", which involves shifting a piece of the cloud from the core of the data networks to the edge – namely right next to the LTE mast. This way, the information only has to be transferred from the car to the LTE mast, where it is then processed and forwarded directly to the next car.

Successful tests

The first tests at the digital motorway test bed on the A9 proved the suitability of this principle for everyday use in clearly defined traffic situations. "Mobile-edge computing" enables the network to react in less than 20 milliseconds. To put this in context, a car traveling at 100 kilometers per hour would cover just about 60 centimeters in that amount of time.