5G-Blueprint aims to design and validate technical architecture and business and governance models for uninterrupted cross-border teleoperated transport based on 5G connectivity. As such, the project will explore and define:
- The economics of 5G tools in cross–border transport and logistics, as well as in passenger transport: bringing capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) into view, both on the supply (telecom) side and the demand (transport and logistics) side, leading to the transformation of current business practices as well as new value propositions.
- The governance issues and solutions pertaining to responsibilities and accountability within the value chain dependent on cross-border connectivity and seamless services related to the Dutch and Belgian regulatory frameworks (telecommunications, traffic and Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) experimentation laws, contracts, value chain management).
- Tactical and operational (pre)conditions that need to be in place to get the full value of 5G tooled transport and logistics. This includes implementing use cases that increase cooperative awareness to guarantee safe and responsible teleoperated transport.
- Preparing and piloting teleoperated and telemonitored transport on roadways and waterways to alleviate the increasing shortage of manpower and bring transport and logistics to a higher level of efficiency through data sharing in the supply chain and the use of AI.
- Exploring the possibilities of increasing the volume of freight transported during the night where excess physical infrastructure capacity is abundant – lowering of personnel costs would make this feasible on a cost-effective basis.
- Teleoperation will be enabled by 5G qualities, such as low latency, reliable connectivity, and high bandwidth.
The project’s outcome will be the blueprint for operational pan-European deployment of teleoperated transport solutions in the logistics sector and beyond.
5G Pilots Sites
Project Acronym: 5G-Blueprint
Project Name: Next generation connectivity for enhanced, safe & efficient transport & logistics
Funded Under: H2020-ICT-2018-20 – Information and Communication Technologies
Topic: ICT-53-2020: 5G PPP – 5G for Connected and Automated Mobility
Call for proposal: H2020-ICT-2019-3
Starting Date: 01/09/2020
Duration: 40 Months
The topic of electromagnetic fields in relation to 5G is already being taken up strongly by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, therefore no additional tasks regarding this matter have been included in the 5G-Blueprint project. These existing activities are part of the EZK Actieplan Digitale Connectiviteit.
To implement the corresponding tasks in this domain, several organizations in The Netherlands are working on the questions regarding electromagnetic fields on a day to day basis:
- Het Kennisplatform EMV (https://www.kennisplatform.nl ). This organization plays an important role in the elucidation of research results in this domain.
- RIVM also provides information on the matter (https://www.rivm.nl/elektromagnetische-velden ).
- The Antennebureau (https://www.antennebureau.nl ) collects and provides information regarding antennas in The Netherlands.
Similarly, the Flemish government is also closely monitoring the state of the art in research regarding health effects of electromagnetic fields, especially in the context of 5G. This activity is being performed by the Department Environment of the Flemish administration. Next to monitoring the state of the art, this Department also performs its own research regarding 5G and its possible impact on society. The output of all these activities can be followed on https://omgeving.vlaanderen.be/onderzoek-straling-en-gezondheid .
Looking at the situation as it is today, it is essential to emphasize that all the efforts invested by these specialized organizations have always come to the same conclusions: no health concern whatsoever regarding the usage of 5G has yet been identified and there is no reason to assume that it will be identified in the future. Throughout the further execution of the 5G-Blueprint project, the activities of these organizations will however remain closely monitored, and in case of any identified health concerns the project will immediately take any action necessary.
From the perspective of performing teleoperation on public roads as part of the day to day operation of a logistics company, these are all examples of the research questions that we want to answer as part of this project. So at the moment, we do not yet have the corresponding answers. But we will have them by the end of the project, so stay tuned and don’t forget to register for our newsletter.
But from the perspective of the experiments with teleoperation within the project, of course all experiments in the project are designed in such a way that safety is always guaranteed, including the presence of a safety fallback driver in the teleoperated vehicle at all times, disabling the actual vehicle actuation by the remote driver when doing systems checks in actual traffic (called shadow mode testing, in this case the safety fallback driver is driving, and the remote operator is only validating if all systems technically work without actually controlling the vehicle remotely), and closing down public roads when testing real teleoperation on them. And during all testing activities of the project, applicable laws and regulations will of course always be followed, and the needed permits for testing on public roads will be applied for.
The 5G-Blueprint project has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 952189.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 supports smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth and jobs with an emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership, and tackling societal challenges. The goal of this program is to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation, and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together to deliver innovation.
5G-Blueprint has a budget of approximately €13.91 million, of which €10 million is supported by the European Horizon 2020 program. The remainder is provided by the participating parties themselves. The project partners from the public sector (ministries and their departments, colleges, universities, and knowledge institutes) represent 25% of the total project budget; the other 75% are private sector players.
No, it does not. The concept of teleoperation researched as part of this project heavily relies on human operators for the remote control of the vehicles and barges. It does not take away the need for drivers and captains. It only changes their physical location by removing the need to physically tie drivers to vehicles or vessels that they are controlling. Teleoperation is not about replacing people with technology — it involves a high degree of operational complexity, and thus humans need to remain in control of the equipment.
Teleoperation will improve the productivity, efficiency, and safety of the logistics operation and optimize working conditions for drivers/teleoperators (e.g., it negates the need for workers to relocate). Teleoperation also goes some way toward ensuring a greater gender balance and bridging the divide between blue-collar and white-collar jobs, opening the remote work privilege to a wider group of workers. While teleoperation will not entirely and immediately bring parity to the remote workforce (because of its complexity and need for dedicated equipment and control centers), it is a significant step in that direction.
Technologies, such as AI and automation have been thoroughly researched by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and their findings clearly suggest that evolving technology will lead to a net gain in job numbers. Even if automation disrupts specific industries, “employment in total may continue to rise”.
Moreover, given that the sector is currently challenged by a significant labour market shortage, it is expected that teleoperation will attract new profiles to the sector and fill its vacancies by making jobs more attractive. This will take away one of the most important strains on the economic growth of many transport and logistics companies, which may lead to the creation of even more jobs in the sector.