EU 5G Funding under Horizon 2020 to Focus on Transport and Industry

        The European Union (EU) has signed off 11 new research projects into development of 5G industry and use cases in Europe, with a focus on mobility, supply chains, and manufacturing, as well as on Europe-based innovation around 5G hardware itself.

The new projects are among the last to be agreed under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework, which will be succeeded with a new five-year €100 billion funding programme from next year. The 11 new projects take EU funding for the European 5G Public-Private Partnership (5G-PPP) trials, under the Horizon 2020 scheme, to more than €400 million of EU funding; the projects have leveraged more than €1 billion of private investment alongside, with a design to explode 5G-enabled industrial change.

Three of the 11 new projects are cross-border trials of 5G-based mobility and transport solutions, funded to the tune of €41 million. Each will establish 5G infrastructure to test connected and automated cars, trucks, trains, barges, and boats. 

The projects will nvolve  various stakeholders, including mobile operators, telecoms vendors, road operators, rail infrastructure firms, transport and logistic companies, vehicle manufacturers, railway equipment manufacturers, research institutes, plus transport authorities and national and regional governments. 

Each of the three mobility trials considers different geographic and weather conditions. The 5GMed project in the Pyrennees mountains will test use cases for connected and automated road and rail along the Figueras-Perpignan cross-border corridor. 

The 5G-Routes trial in the Baltic region will validate over 150 kilometres of the Via Baltica corridor, with a ferry extension to Helsinki, including ports and maritime routes. The 5GBlueprint project will look at tele-operated transport for roads running between the North Sea ports of Antwerp and Vlissingen, in Belgium and the Netherlands. 

Specifically, the 5G-Routes and 5GBlueprint projects will take place over cross-border 5G infrastructure, supported by agreements between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the first case, and between the Netherlands and Belgium-based Flanders, covering the Rotterdam, Antwerp and North Sea Port areas. 

Along with the three existing cross-border trials, the new 5G-connected mobility projects will provide the know-how for large-scale deployment of 5G corridors in Europe, said the EU, which will be supported by the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) over the 2021-2027 period. 

Meanwhile, another eight projects are to start in September around 5G hardware innovation – “to build a first-class European industrial supply chain for core 5G technologies and hardware… and support the emergence of new innovative market players.” 

The projects will address innovation in promising vertical use cases such as content management, coordinated auto mobility, private networks, data ecosystems, and ultra-high data rates in THz frequencies. They will explore various business approaches, including open RAN, disaggregated systems, edge networking, and neutral host concepts.

The EU has confirmed another seven 5G-PPP trial projects with €100 million of Horizon 2020 funding are also under way. These focus on the role of 5G in vertical markets, including for manufacturing, healthcare, energy, automotive, aviation, railway, logistics, food and agriculture, media and entertainment, public safety, smart cities, and tourism.

They complement the various 5G mobility projects, the EU said. Another wave of projects for approximately €100 million will be launched this year under the final wave of Horizon 2020 funding. These will focus on 5G software innovation and ‘beyond 5G’ development.

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