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Steps for the future of autonomous driving networks

Mobile networks need to keep up to speed with the rate which autonomous driving capabilities are being developed. To cope, leading Chinese multinational telco suggests that network automation needs a boost to meet the challenges of the 5G era.

Meeting the 5G Challenge

The 5G era is characterised as one full of complexities. For example, network operation and maintenance becomes difficult because of the coexistence of multiple RATs, frequency bands and HetNet. Concurrently, new technologies are introduced with larger capacities. Having to coordinate a variety of services in real-time while ensuring high service experience is no walk in the park.

Hence, David Wang, Executive Director of the Board, Huawei emphasised the need for intelligent technologies to be introduced at edge, local and cloud, forming a three-layer autonomous driving architecture. Furthermore, he suggests that local intelligence should be implemented with the coordination between site nodes and domain nodes, supporting intra-layer autonomy and efficient collaboration.

Realising the full potential of 5G networks won’t be so easily nor so soon. Wang advises a scenario by scenario approach in the introduction to the company’s latest whitepaper, titled “Key Scenarios of Autonomous Driving Mobile Network”.

7 Scenarios and 5 Key Automation Capabilities

The whitepaper describes autonomous driving scenarios in mobile networks and defines the scenarios by level based on the operator’s core operation process. It hopes to build on industry consensus on network automation, developing actionable steps to fully realise autonomous driving in mobile networks and gain from network automation.

Seven key autonomous driving scenarios are explained. These are based on the dimensions of network operations and maintenance lifecycle, digitalisation, and scenario-specific total cost of ownership.

The scenarios include: base station deployment, feature deployment, network performance monitoring, fault analysis and handling, network performance improvement, home service provisioning, and network energy saving. With this as a skeletal roadmap, telco operators can promote network automation based on service pain points and gradually reduce the high operating expenditure caused by the increasingly complex network.

According to the press release, the company will be updating the driving scenarios consistently and will also release the research results.

Five key basic capabilities for network automation have also been identified. The capabilities suggest that telco operators need to build different capabilities for the seven different scenarios.

These five capabilities are: programmable, online, bridging, sensibility and intelligence.

The whitepaper elaborates how these capabilities can be achieved within each scenario. For example, to improve network performance, the mobile network must be highly intelligent to face the time-varying mobile scenarios and the dynamic balance among multiple parameters. However, the key in base station deployment scenarios is the E2E bridging to realize closed-loop workflow automation.

Accelerating the Car of the Future

Wang said, “Building autonomous driving networks is a new mission in the MBB industry. We need to innovate the architecture and key technologies to achieve continuous breakthrough in automation. We need to introduce AI capabilities from Cloud, Network, and Site to enable all-scenario autonomous driving in mobile networks.”

The dream for autonomous vehicles might only be realised somewhere in 2030, according to the whitepaper. The Chinese company thinks the biggest obstacle is not the technological barriers which need to be overcome, but rather a human one. People need to take a huge leap of faith for the technology to be realised.

However, if a scenario by scenario approach is undertaken, more progress can be witnessed. The telco thinks operators can enjoy a dividend at each stage. The stepwise process helps accelerate the process of automation and the benefits of network AI can be realised with immediacy.

Wang concluded, “Huawei is committed to developing leading ICT solutions through continuous innovation, and taking complexity itself while creating simplicity for our customers. Together, we will promote autonomous driving in mobile networks and embrace a fully connected, intelligent world.”

To read the whitepaper, click here.

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