Applus+ IDIADA technical centre launches 5G network coverage and becomes Europe's largest connected mobility test facility

03/03/2022

    Mobile World Capital Barcelona, i2CAT Foundation and the Department of the Vice-Presidency and of Digital Policies and Territory of the Government of Catalonia, through its 5G Barcelona programme, will promote validation tests on the circuit, thus facilitating the promotion of autonomous and connected mobility.

    The Applus+ IDIADA technical centre has 370 hectares of test tracks where from now on it will be possible to test vehicles with 5G connectivity, a key step in the development and introduction of the autonomous vehicle in the market.

    Applus+ IDIADA awarded Orange and Ericsson the development of a private mobile network - with 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G technologies - at its Santa Oliva complex.

     

    Applus+ IDIADA, Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCapital), i2CAT Foundation and the Department of the Vice-Presidency and of Digital Policies and Territory of the Government of Catalonia have announced this morning, at the MWCapital stand at MWC Barcelona, the availability of a private 5G network at its technical centre in Santa Oliva (Tarragona). This new feature makes it the most important facility in Europe for the development and testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.

    Applus+ IDIADA, a global company that provides vehicle design, engineering, testing and homologation services for the automotive industry, awarded Orange and Ericsson the development of a private mobile network - with 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G technologies - at its complex in Santa Oliva (Tarragona). This network allows development and validation tests of connected and autonomous driving technologies, and to experiment with the operation of services and applications under different network conditions, in a secure and confidential environment.

    "This mobile network is part of the plan to upgrade our facilities to meet the new development requirements of the automotive industry and all those companies that need to develop and validate applications and connectivity systems in a controlled environment," said Abel Carbonell, Head of Electronics at Applus+ IDIADA.

    The Applus+ IDIADA technical centre covers an area of 370 hectares and has multiple tracks and laboratories to test the behaviour of vehicles and components in different conditions. Applus+ IDIADA is currently expanding its tracks with the construction of various circuits specially designed for testing autonomous and connected vehicles that recreate different driving environments from urban scenarios to motorway driving.

    As a result, Applus+ IDIADA not only has an advanced test track for its own teams, but can also provide the automotive industry with a wide range of possibilities for IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity, autonomous cars and connected vehicles. "Connecting the Applus+ IDIADA technical centre to 5G technology creates a huge opportunity for the automotive and mobility sector. The sector is at a key moment of transformation and having facilities like this is essential to maintain its competitiveness and promote its international projection" said Eduard Martín, CIO and Director of Smart Connectivity at MWCapital and CEO of 5G Barcelona. The Foundation, through the 5G Barcelona programme, will promote usability testing, and thus speed up the pace at which 5G connected and autonomous mobility becomes a reality.

    The project also involves the participation of the i2CAT Foundation, which will provide technical knowledge and experience in 5G technologies, services and applications to facilitate workshops, training, sessions with experts and drivers. In addition, it will participate in the definition and development of the roadmap, the catalogue of services of the technical centre, as well as the technologies of the 5G Barcelona alliance. All this with the aim of identifying, developing, and executing 5G use cases in a real environment. i2CAT will coordinate with IDIADA and MWCapital the corresponding communication and marketing actions.

    In the words of Víctor Vera, Territorial Director of Orange's Business area in Catalonia, "this project is a great opportunity for the automotive industry, as it allows them to test the capabilities offered by next-generation networks such as 5G in a real and controlled environment, low latency, bandwidth, and high capacity to connect a multitude of devices... Those are a series of technical qualities that will undoubtedly mark the future of their own innovation. The objective is clear, to help Applus+ IDIADA and, by extension, the industry to identify solutions to the challenges that may arise in mobile communications in real driving conditions."

    Furthermore, the Department of the Vice-Presidency and of Digital Policies and Territory of the Government of Catalonia supports the initiative within the framework of the 5G Strategy of Catalonia. In the words of the Secretary for Digital Policies of the Government of Catalonia, "the launch of this 5G laboratory for autonomous and connected vehicles is a major step forward in promoting the digital transformation of a strategic sector for Catalonia, such as the automotive industry, and will also help us to boost the Catalan digital hub by generating new business ideas, digital services and companies linked to future technologies such as 5G."

    One network that can be customised with all radio technologies

    One of the main added values of the project over other test environments is to have all radio technologies in one place, in a controlled environment and with the option of advanced and replicable customisation of the network.

    This makes it possible to generate a larger number of scenarios and use cases for new developments in autonomous and connected cars. It also allows early identification and therefore immediate correction and testing of solutions for problems that may arise in mobile communications in real driving conditions (on-board services, vehicle monitoring and maintenance, remote functions, accident prevention, range reliability, etc.).

    These new capabilities will provide the automotive industry with a real and fully secure environment to test the connectivity services of next-generation vehicles that will be launched on the market in the coming years. All this, with the possibility to implement a wide variety of tests: from basic connectivity, performance, telematics or infotainment tests of today to tests of future autonomous cars. 

     

    About Mobile World Capital

    Mobile World Capital Barcelona is an initiative that drives the digital development of society and helps improve people's lives on a global scale.

    With public and private support, MWCapital focuses its activity on four areas: accelerating innovation through digital entrepreneurship; transforming industry through digital technology; growing digital talent among new generations and professionals; and reflecting on the impact of technology on our society. Together, our programmes are positively transforming the economy, education and society.

    MWCapital hosts MWC in Barcelona and is the founder of 4 Years From Now (4YFN), the business platform for the startup community present at all MWC events worldwide.

    About the i2CAT Foundation

    The i2CAT Foundation is a CERCA centre for research and innovation in advanced digital technologies located in Barcelona.

    Since 2003, i2CAT has been driving the digital society of the future through the knowledge generated in the development of R&D&I projects and activities in technologies such as 5G, IoT, VR and immersive technologies, cybersecurity, blockchain, artificial intelligence, New Space and digital social technologies.

    The centre collaborates with companies, public administrations, academic institutions and users to apply this knowledge to solve social and business challenges.

    About Catalonia's 5G Strategy

    The implementation of 5G in Catalonia is a priority for the Government of Catalonia, which wants to support the deployment of this technology and make the country a pole of attraction and technological demonstration.

    The 5G Strategy of Catalonia, promoted by the Department of the Vice-Presidency and of Digital Policies and Territory, deploys a programme of actions to boost the 5G ecosystem and turn Catalonia into a global technology hub in 5G technology.

    About Applus+ IDIADA

    Applus IDIADA is an engineering company with more than 30 years of experience in vehicle development, providing design, engineering, testing and homologation services to the international automotive industry.

    With its headquarters and main technical centre in Tarragona, the company has subsidiaries in 22 countries, a team of more than 2,700 highly specialised professionals and state-of-the-art testing and development facilities.

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