Luxembourg's government is willing to invest in its digital infrastructure - and become a key player in this sector. On 5G networks, autonomous driving and a multi-billion business.

In a parliamentary question to the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Mobility, CSV MP Viviane Reding hoped to probe deeper into questions of digital infrastructure in Luxembourg. Among other things, she inquired about the planned 5G networks and their relation to self-driving cars in the Grand Duchy.

To take us a step back, on 3 April, ministers for transport from Germany, France, and Luxembourg officially inaugurated a new testing site for autonomous driving for the Saarland-Lorraine-Luxembourg region in Schengen. First testing sessions will reportedly kick off within the next two years.

What do 5G networks have to do with autonomous driving?

5G connectivity is paving the way for self-driving cars. The vehicle will permanently need to be connected to the network and use the signals to steer and accelerate by itself. The ministries explained that the required hardware will be installed in the context of the European research program Horizon2020.

Luxembourgish companies participating in the project are, among others, POST and SES Consult. It remains unclear which technologies exactly will be used, the ministries said.

In their reply, the ministries also highlighted the national strategy for expanding the 5G network. 5G is a mobile network that is significantly more efficient than its predecessor. It for example allows a quicker exchange of higher volumes of data between different devices.

The prospect of 5G networks has led to controversy in some circles.  For the time being, it is not possible efficiently to control the software and there are no conclusive studies on potential health hazards caused by the 5G deployments.

Multi-billion business

Officials nevertheless hope to install the fast network on major transport axes - and gradually become a key player in data economy and mobility. This digital market is estimated to produce revenue of $82,9 billion already.

According to the German federation for economy, revenue could even balloon to $4,500 billion by 2050. It should therefore not come as a surprise that Luxembourg's government is willing to invest - and eventually scoop a slice of the digital cake.