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Demonstration of self-driving cars, using the 5G mobile network, for the first time in Hungary, at the ZalaZONE test track

Budapest, May 20, 2019 12:00

Demonstration of self-driving cars, using the 5G mobile network, for the first time in Hungary, at the ZalaZONE test track

For the first time in Hungary, Magyar Telekom, T-Systems Hungary, Ericsson Hungary, the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), iMar Navigation, and APZ Ltd. showcased autonomous vehicles maneuvering, communicating on the 5G network, in an environment simulating real life conditions. At the official inauguration ceremony of the Zalaegerszeg ZalaZONE proving ground on May 20, the participants could also see the smart parking system of T-Systems Hungary, designed specifically for the test track, suitable for testing self-driving cars as well.

Magyar Telekom launched Hungary’s first, standard 5G test station in the downtown of Zalaegerszeg. In addition to the base station in the city center, the company equipped its existing transmission tower at the ZalaZONE test track with 5G capability, with the objective to make the test track suitable for the development and testing of autonomous cars connected to the 5G network, besides traditional ones.



The 5G mobile technology was installed by Ericsson Hungary at the test track, using Telekom’s transmission tower, broadband optical connection and power supply on site. The test enviroment was constructed by engineers from Ericsson, Telekom and T-Systems Hungary together. The local 5G network presently operates within the 3.5 GHz frequency range, whose temporary use was authorized by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH). The under 10 ms latency of the 5G network allows self-driving cars to safely communicate, via the central infrastructure, with one-another and with an optional control center, in order to reliably react to traffic situations.

Using the implemented infrastructure, the Budapest University of Technology and Economics demonstrated its special self-driving car testing and simulation environment, developed in a joint effort with ZalaZONE. The so called scenario based testing method (Scenario-in-the-Loop - SciL), developed within the framework of their joint research program, is focused on eliminating the boundaries between virtuality and reality, testing the functionality of autonomous vehicles in complex traffic situations that simulate a real life environment, under safe conditions. During the demo the SMART car, especially designed as part of the SciL testing system, reacted to objects placed within the simulation environment in the virtual space, as well as in the real space, detected autonomously with its sensors - all this using the 5G network. The demonstrated solution is a special one insofar as the car reacts to a pedestrian appearing completely independently, without the intervention of the driver.

The test cars of iMAR Navigations, demonstrated real life traffic situations as part of the recently presented PEGASUS work-flow: the so called Traffic Simulation Vehicle demonstrated overtaking, passing along the smart city area of the ZalaZONE track in fully autonomous mode, also using the 5G based communication system as well as iMAR’s highly sophisticated precise positioning system.

The next generation 5G mobile technology provides close to ten times higher data transmission speed, significantly shorter response time, and much better customer experience. Thanks to its capacity, which is substantially more than today, tens of millions of devices can be connected concurrently to the network. This completely novel network concept combines the benefits of fixed and mobile communication. The opportunities it provides are not only related to its speed, but also to the embedded network intelligence and its ability to interwork with other technologies. As a result of this, 5G will bring a number of new solutions in the fields of industry, energetics, agriculture, transport, health-care, education and virtually in all aspects of life. The new technology is expected to be available overall in Europe, within a few years’ time.

„We are proud that, together with our partners, we can present, under real-life conditions, the role 5G networks play in automotive industrial developments, especially in rolling out the self-driving technology. The ZalaZONE test track, provides a unique and exceptional testing opportunity in Europe for a number of car manufacturers, relying on the 5G network infrastructure implemented by Magyar Telekom along the track” - explained Tibor Rékasi, CEO of Magyar Telekom, after the demonstration.

„The handover of the Zalaegerszeg automotive proving ground is a key event for Hungary, the Hungarian automotive industry, the infocommunication sector and all relevant stakeholders. The developments, completed separately so far - self-driving vehicles, 5G network, infrastructure and network communication - will now continue as part of a joint effort on the test track, generating significant competitive edge for domestic players on both regional and European level. In our world, that is changing at an extraordinary pace, the government, the market- and innovation players involved in research and development, need to step out of their traditional roles and create new forms of cooperation. That is why the ZalaZONE test track sets an example” - added Zoltán Kaszás, CEO of T-Systems Hungary, Chairman of the Autonomous Vehicle Cluster of Zala County.

„Ericsson Hungary is very proud to have contributed to the first 5G technology based self-driving car demonstration in Hungary, with the company’s leading 5G technology. This project is a very good example for the close collaboration of various industries, allowing for efficiently utilizing the benefits and opportunities provided by 5G technology” – highlighted Gábor Éry, CEO of Ericsson Hungary.

„The ZalaZONE test track, is an excellent example for the successful cooperation of the industry, the government and the academic sphere, and - in addition to servicing the special testing needs of traditional and automated vehicles - also provides an ideal environment for trials and testing of the newest telecommunications solutions to demonstrate their applicability in a vehicle environment. BME - who ensured the scientific background - is proud to have been a part of this process from the very beginning” – underlined Dr. Zsolt Szalay, Faculty Head at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and Head of Research and Innovation of the ZalaZONE proving ground.

„We very much appreciate the invitation to demonstrate a leading technological solution, together with our academic research and telecommunications partners, at the ZalaZONE test track, a solution that is already in compliance with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) level 5., i.e. it is fully automated. We are eagerly looking forward to further close cooperation between Hungary and Germany to strengthen the automotive industry in Europe, whereby we can present the most competitive, reliable solutions, complying with high level European standards, to be certified at the ZalaZONE test track” – said Dr. Edgar v. Hinüber, CEO of IMAR Navigation in Germany.

Parallel to the opening ceremony T-Systems Hungary handed over its Sparkon solution based smart parking system, installed on the track. At present, the controllers can get information from the sensor monitored parking area using an application. The continued joint development is aimed to ensure that self-driving cars can interpret data from the parking system without controller intervention, in order to remotely optimize the time needed for parking, from a greater distance.