In Italy, the application of 5G to the field of transportation is a very seriously taken issue. As early as 2020 the Cluster Trasporti Italia, an association recognized by MIUR and a reference for the sector, had presented its proposals and research trajectories for road, rail, and sea freight in light of the technological potential and value that 5G connection could bring to the Italian territory, in terms of speed, reliability, and communication latency.
This year in Rome, at the 5G Italy Global Meeting, the protagonists of the trucking sector with the most representative institutions of the scientific industrial, and financial industry discussed the new scenarios induced by the future 5G connection also to promote and manage the technological missions to be fulfilled both at local and community level.
According to the European Union, 5G connectivity will be the perfect glue between various enterprises and institutions because of its ability to provide broadband and low-latency connections to communicating environments and infrastructures, even with many connected devices.
Although not integrally, some kinds of public transport in Italy are already using these technologies, proving that they can indeed benefit and increase the functionality of services. In Italy, the forerunner has been Genoa, whose public transportation has been using 5G connectivity for more than two years to exchange data to make road travel smoother and more regular.
Due to the pandemic and chaos on Liguria’s highways, logistics in this region has suffered significantly, yet Genoa has put the most advanced projects on track, some of which have Liguria Digitale, the regional digitalization and IIt company, at the forefront, as well as, of course, the major telecom operators. Liguria Digitale, together with Tim, is working on the 5GSmartg pilot project to generate new solutions for road infrastructure security. Ericson, among the partners, is experimenting with 5G for land monitoring using remotely controlled drones and rovers.
Sogedim’s perspective for truck transportation in 5G
Sogedim, as a referential logistics partner for domestic and international transportation, recognizes the importance and potential that new 5G technologies could bring to the industry.
The freight forwarder’s gaze is always on innovation, and having precisely road transport as its flagship, when domestic freight transport in 5G is implementable it will not be found unprepared.
5G drives technological innovation
In recent years we have been hearing a lot about 5G connectivity and how various industries, by taking advantage of it, could increase the efficiency of their services.
The advantage of this technology in 5G, although to date still not totally implemented in Italy, is definitely the speed of the network and the ability to support more connections than the currently used 4G, working on a wider frequency spectrum.
The 5G connection, compared to its predecessors, travels at up to 10 Gigabits per second, speeds 10 times faster than older networks, and has a latency capability of less than a millisecond, meaning that the delay in data transmission compared to command is minimal, especially when considering the possibility of connecting more than one million devices per km2. Among the negative aspects of various devices that rely on 5G, the low battery life in mobile devices is found.
The prospects for 5G connectivity are positive: in fact, it is expected to be able to extend the band coverage, to date at 10 percent, to its maximum extent by 2026, an almost realistic prospect given the many businesses that, to date, want to invest in this new technology seeing it as a strong aid and innovation to their services.
Benefits on Logistics and Transportation, 5G roll-out will benefit the economy
In its latest report titled “SMART ITALY 5G – I benefici del 5G per l’economia italiana” (www.gruppotim.it/content/dam/gt/centro-studi-tim/ReportSmartItaly5G16092021.pdf), CENTRO STUDI TIM, after a concise but comprehensive overview of the main features of 5G, in terms of guaranteed performance, enabled services, frequencies used, and roll-out timing calculates the contribution that 5G deployment will have on Italy’s GDP in the period 2021-2040.
The study quantifies the benefits that 5G deployment will produce in terms of economic savings or productivity gains in a range of economic sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, or utility services.
Thus, if 5G is proposed as cutting-edge technology in several fields, it cannot be expected to exclude logistics among them, offering itself as a means for greater safety on board and the road.
Practically speaking, while to date there are devices for preventing highway problems, such as airbags or ABS, designed to reduce the consequences of crashes, 5G could even foresee them by connecting pedestrians and motorists, who, thanks to a study of the data transmitted by various road devices, vehicles, or cameras placed on the various stretches of road, will be able to be alerted to potentially harmful situations to reduce the risk of accidents through precognitive anti-collision systems.
Such alerts could be received directly on stakeholders’ mobile devices or appear directly on vehicle screens, connecting stakeholders through fast and timely communication systems.
To regulate and implement the introduction of 5G connectivity in the transportation sector, the 5G Automotive Association, a global cross-industry organization between Automotive and ICT, was established in 2016.
The goal of the 5GAA is to bring together different companies, to date 130, active in the automotive, telephony, and communication industries, chipset, and infrastructure providers, to identify innovative solutions for connected and fast mobility in the context of vehicle automation
The digital tachograph, which had pioneered 5G and IoT for the trucking industry, was introduced with EU Regulation 165/2014 to monitor, regulate and manage the work activity of truck drivers.
The use of digital cards with internal memory has made it possible to time and record the various travel data of truck drivers, being able to monitor working hours, rest hours, driving conditions, compliance with road signs and limits, and any vehicle anomalies or breakdowns, as they can transfer everything to external monitoring devices. Therefore, it is not surprising to think that the advent of 5G could also bring innovation to existing driving tools such as the digital tachograph, which are currently relying on more obsolete networks.