Virtualization technologies are key enablers of softwarized 5G networks, and their usage in the vehicular domain can provide flexibility and reliability in real deployments, where mobility and processing needs may be an issue. Next-generation vehicular services, such as the ones in the area of urban mobility and, in general, those interconnecting on-board sensors, require continuous data gathering and processing, but current architectures are stratified in two-tier solutions in which data is collected by on-board units (OBU) and sent to cloud servers. In this line, intermediate cache and processing layers are needed in order to cover quasi-ubiquitous data-gathering needs of vehicles in scenarios of smart cities/roads considering vehicles as moving sensors. The SURROGATES solution presented in this paper proposes to virtualize vehicle OBUs and create a novel Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) layer with the aim of offloading processing from the vehicle and serving data-access requests. This deals with potential disconnection periods of vehicles, saves radio resources when accessing the physical OBU and improves data processing performance. A proof of concept has been implemented using OpenStack and Open Source MANO to virtualize resources and gather data from in-vehicle sensors, and a final traffic monitoring service has been implemented to validate the proposal. Performance results reveal a speedup of more than 50% in the data request resolution, with consequently great savings of network resources in the wireless segment. Thus, this work opens a novel path regarding the virtualization of end-devices in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) ecosystem.
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