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Autonomous driving experiments in the Brenner Pass

5G-CARMEN is an innovative project funded by the European Commission, focused on Cooperative Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM)

Sperimentazioni di guida autonoma sul passo del Brennero

5G-CARMEN project    Per la versione in Italiano:

For background picture, photo credit

The 5G-CARMEN project represents an important step towards the future of self-driving cars, and it relies on the recent deployment of 5G based cellular networks and 3GPP based direct communication to achieve this important goal.

Thanks to Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technologies, in fact, vehicles will be able to receive and send more and more data about their surroundings, exchanging information with significantly smaller delays, thus getting a richer and more extensive view of the scenario they move on, and faster reaction time to any critical and potentially harmful event.

5G-CARMEN is part of the wider 5G Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP), funded by the European Commission in the Framework of Horizon 2020.

1. The Bologna-Munich corridor

It is aimed at developing and testing how 5G technologies can be used to improve CCAM services in a specific motorway corridor, the Brenner Corridor, which runs from Bologna to Munich; this specific highway has been chosen since, with its 80 thousand passengers per day, it constitutes a key transport artery for the whole region.

New cellular infrastructures based on 5G are being deployed along this path, to allow testing of the functionalities envisioned by the project, and the experimentation of some specific use cases of CCAM services.

The consortium is composed of 25 key partners that have come together to complete the project. These partners include large companies operating in the automotive and telecommunication sectors, such as FCA and BMW, Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telekom, Nokia and Qualcomm, and the concessionary Company of the A22 motorway, Autostrada del Brennero SpA.

The other partners include research institutes and SMEs; among these we find the Libera Universiy of Bolzano, the Associazione P.I.I.U. and the University Politècnica de València. The consortium is coordinated by Fondazione Bruno Kessler.

There is a series of objectives associated with a successful completion of the project. These include the design of specific requirements for the use cases in the Brenner Corridor, and the design, deployment and integration of C-V2X systems capable of delivering the use cases.

Moreover, there is the goal of finding ways to commercially exploit the findings of the project in the long term, and disseminating the results through dedicated fora.

The project is currently expected to reach these goals within the agreed timelines.

2. 5G-CARMEN Consortium partners

The project started on the 1st of November 2018. The total duration is 36 months, with the estimated end date set for the end of October 2021.

The Italian government passed a legislative bill in March 2018 allowing for the experimentation of the latest technologies on its transport systems. Similar measures had been adopted by Germany in June 2017.

5G-CARMEN has identified four possible use cases, which will be tested in the A22 motorway, and in particular in the crossborder sections of the Brenner Pass between Italy and Austria, and in Kufstein between Austria and Germany.

The selected use cases will allow to increase road safety, ensuring higher safety in the execution of dangerous maneuvers (Cooperative Maneuvering use case), and preventive knowledge of any critical issues that will be encountered along the road (Situation Awareness use case).

A use case will be dedicated to increasing the sustainability of mobility suggesting virtuous driving behavior, based on the environmental and traffic characteristics of the motorway section that is being traversed, and better exploitation of hybrid traction systems on the vehicle when available (Green Driving use case).

Finally, a use case will be intended to grant a more pleasant experience on board to passengers, allowing higher and more stable Quality of Experience (QoE) in the fruition of multimedia content on car, thanks to the prediction of the expected network quality of service, and the proactive adaptation of streaming applications in order to avoid interruptions in the service, whenever possible (Video Streaming use case).

For each one of these use cases, the project has identified the necessary communication technologies, technological components, the network architecture and the service platforms that need to be deployed, paying particular attention to issues related to the interworking between operators, to security, and processing of data collected during experimentation.

A key element to support these use cases is the C-V2X technology, which was introduced by the 3GPP standardization body in Release 14 of its specifications, and it supports various communication links and interfaces including:

  • PC5 interface for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), and Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) communication;
  • Uu interface for Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) communication.

The PC5 interface supports direct communication in the of the device which is ideally suited to use cases with low latency like basic safety, cooperative maneuvering, situation awareness and many more.

3. 5G-CARMEN selected use cases

The Uu interface supports communication between the vehicle and the existing cellular network and computing infrastructure. This type of communication is useful to transfer messages over a wider geographical area.

Thus, the communication over PC5 interface and Uu interface are complementary. 5G-CARMEN will utilize the latest 5G based cellular networks for Uu interface.

5G-CARMEN has defined a deployment plan for the four use cases which will start in 2020 and will continue up to the realization of the test campaigns in 2021.

The pilot tests will initially take place locally, near Munich in Germany, and near Trento and Modena in Italy, and will then move to the cross-border sections of the Brenner pass and to Kufstein, where issues about continuity of service in the transition from one national network to another will be addressed.

5G-CARMEN is not the only initiative aimed at using 5G technology in motorways, for the purpose of testing advanced CCAM functionalities.

The 5G-PPP European programme includes a range of projects focused on developing and testing ways in which the 5G technology can be used to support automated driving, such as 5G-MOBIX or 5GCroCo, with whom 5GCARMEN is maintaining strong interactions.

These projects are taking place in different corridors in Europe which span across multiple countries.

4. Locations selected for 5G-CARMEN

Trials take place in scenarios specifically designed to include difficult and complex situations, especially found in cross-border environments, in order to investigate solutions that can grant continuity to CCAM services across the whole European territory.

A number of events are hosted around the world, focused on the building and application of CCAM capabilities, Intelligent Transport Systems, Internet of Things and 5G. These are perfect opportunities to create networks of ideas among experts and projects such as 5G-CARMEN.

For this reason, in its first year of activities 5G-CARMEN has been present in a few of the most important events in its field.

It was a key contributor in the EUCNC held in Valencia, where it won the conference’s Best Booth Award. Moreover, a booth was hosted also in EUCAD 2019 and at the Future Mobility Expoforum. Key contributions were also delivered to events such as the ITS World Congress 2019, MobiHoc 2019 and in a BrennerLEC Workshop.

More information on the project can be found following 5GCARMEN social profiles on Twitter (@5g_carmen) and Linkedin, or visiting the project’s website (, which includes a promotional video, information on the activities being carried out, news related to the project, and the possibility to subscribe to a dedicated Newsletter to be updated on project milestones, events, and the latest developments.

  Per la versione in Italiano: