A collaborative network of cross-border corridors between European countries will enable a better environment for the testing and deployment of 5G technology.
EU countries and industry first agreed to establish cross-border corridors in September 2017, during the round table on Connected and Automated Driving (CAD) in Frankfurt. A number of EU countries have gone on to sign and/or announce bilateral agreements among themselves for more test corridors.
Thanks to these 5G corridors, Europe is leading in testing 5G technology. This affirms Europe's ambition to lead in enabling connected and automated driving and mobility. Only a pan-European effort will create a secure and safe environment for citizens to enjoy the benefits of connected and automated mobility.
Co-funding of EU Research & Innovation projects for 5G cross-border corridors
As part of the European Commission’s 5G Public Private Partnership, the EU supports 3 5G cross-border corridor projects for large-scale testing of connected and automated mobility (CAM), which are co-funded under Horizon 2020. The three projects, launched in November 2018, trial 5G technology applied to CAM over more than one thousand kilometers of highways across four borders:
- 5G-CARMEN: 600 km of roads across an important north-south corridor from Bologna to Munich via the Brenner Pass
- 5GCROCO: over highways between Metz, Merzig and Luxembourg, crossing the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg
- 5G-Mobix: along two cross-border corridors between Spain and Portugal, a short corridor between Greece and Turkey, and six national urban sites in Versailles (France), Berlin and Stuttgart (Germany), Eindhoven-Helmond (Netherlands) and Espoo (Finland).
Further funding opportunities are currently planned by the Commission both under the last phase of Horizon 2020 and the next EU budget proposal. In particular, as part of the next Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF2 Digital) for 2021-2027.
The Commission's CAM Objectives
Currently, the Commission is working towards two goals:
- realising the cross-border test sections agreed in Frankfurt;
- developing a European-scale network of corridors.
Funding models for testing
Two funding models for testing have developed simultaneously:
The first model provides a framework for private industry to test whatever they deem of relevance (with agreement from the national authorities). This model thus does not necessarily imply government funding.
The second model is projects-driven, with calls for project proposals organised by governments, and the selected projects benefiting from public (co-)funding.
Initiatives in Place
There are already several important initiatives/projects in place:
- France, Germany and Luxembourg have announced a joint corridor between Luxembourg, Metz and Merzig;
- Norway, Finland and Sweden with the E8 corridor between Tromsø (Norway) and Oulu (Finland) and the E18 corridor between Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo;
- The Netherlands and Belgium have agreed to the Rotterdam – Antwerp - Eindhoven corridor;
- Spain and Portugal signed a letter of intent to have two joint corridors between Vigo and Porto and between Evora and Mérida, allowing connected automated driving to be tested across borders;
- Slovenia, Hungary and Austria signed a memorandum of understanding on cross-border cooperation in developing and testing electric, integrated and autonomous vehicles;
- Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia signed a letter of intent on the corridor Thessaloniki – Sofia – Belgrade to develop experimental 5G cross-border corridors that will allow for the testing of driverless vehicles;
- Poland and Lithuania signed a letter of intent on 5/9/2018 to cooperate on technical, legal and policy of the cross-border CAD corridor 'via Baltica' (Warsaw, Kaunas, Vilnius);
- Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a memorandum of understanding for the 'Via Baltica - North';
- Italy and the three presidents of Euroregion Tirol-Südtirol-Trentino have confirmed their intention to work, in cooperation with other interested Member States, on the development of the 5G Corridor on the Brenner-pass motorway.
Overall, thanks to the support of enhanced cross-border cooperation and the support of EU Research and Innovation funding, a new map of 5G cross-border corridors is progressively taking shape in Europe.