ASTRI, HKT, Huawei and Qualcomm to build cellular V2X system for Hong Kong

smart mobility V2X
From left: Veni Shone, president of TDD Product Line and acting president of Cellular V2X Solutions, Huawei Technologies; Alex Arena, group managing director of HKT; Dr. Franklin Tong, CEO of ASTRI; Mantosh Malhotra, senior director of business development, Qualcomm Technologies

Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), HKT, Huawei and Qualcomm Technologies have formed a consortium to build a “smart mobility” system for Hong Kong using cellular V2X technologies.

The Smart Mobility Consortium intends to leverage Cellular-Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) specs in 3GPP Release 14 to introduce a series of intelligent transport services (ITS) in Hong Kong, including a warning mechanism for collision and control, assistance for cruise control and parking, and alert systems for speed and lane violations. In addition, it aims to help drivers and traffic administrators identify potential loopholes and risks in aspects like road intersections, pedestrian crossings and traffic queues.

C-V2X operates through network-based communications on commercial cellular infrastructure, as well as direct communications over the 5.9-GHz band, which has been allocated for ITS in the US, Europe and Japan, and is also being considered in mainland China.

A statement from the consortium says that a C-V2X powered smart mobility system not only allows vehicles to connect to the cloud, but also enables vehicles to communicate with one another as well as with pedestrians, and to synchronize with infrastructure. With C-V2X, “co-operative awareness” between vehicles, pedestrians and the road environment makes it possible to improve safety and enable autonomous driving. It could also support law enforcers, traffic and urban management institutions, and transportation companies to plan and monitor the safety and efficiency of traffic movements.

The consortium also says Hong Kong is an ideal place to pioneer the implementation of a smart mobility system for several reasons, starting with its vibrant transport sector that supports 10 million-plus passenger journeys in Hong Kong’s public and private transport system every day. Also, Hong Kong’s advanced telecoms infrastructure and high-adoption rate of digital technologies offer a strong foundation to unleash the immense potential of C-V2X.

“Hong Kong is a well-connected city with good infrastructure. If we complement these strengths with the latest innovation in science and technology, Hong Kong can become one of the most sophisticated and advanced smart cities in the world,” said ASTRI chairman Wong Ming-yam at an MoU signing ceremony.

Aside from the benefits of efficient mobility and logistics, there’s also a safety element to a smart mobility platform, the consortium said. According to local stats from the Transport Department, over 60% of all road accidents in Hong Kong involve vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-pedestrian collision. Over 40% of cyclist casualties involve accidents on or around carriageways. Some of the most common contributors to traffic accidents include stationary or parked vehicles on busy roads, driving too close to the vehicle in front, inappropriate changing of lanes, careless cycling, jaywalking by pedestrians, and drivers losing control of their vehicles.

“With the application of cellular-V2X technology, assisted driving alerts vehicles and pedestrians in advance about emergency traffic conditions, which will make the roads safer and Hong Kong a better living city,” said Alex Arena, Group Managing Director of HKT. “And with the emerging 5G technology, autonomous driving will revolutionize the experience of transport in Hong Kong.”

The Smart Mobility Consortium plans to work alongside the Hong Kong government, the automobile industry, and other relevant industry stakeholders to implement the multi-year project, which it says is in support of the government’s endeavor to transform Hong Kong into a smart city.

Upon successful completion and rollout, the project is expected to lead to further opportunities for related sectors including shipment, ride-sharing, home-delivery, insurance, infotainment, and mobile healthcare, etc.

The consortium added that the smart mobility system will be designed with an eye on applying its solutions to other cities besides Hong Kong.

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