Automotive business re-imagined with 5G technology
When we discuss any new technology we are simply walking blindfolded into the unknown, as we start delving deeper to try and envision the future of the automotive industry with 5G, we are presented with a whole new dimension that is far from certain and immensely challenging.
The race to mass-market autonomous cars with all the necessary in-vehicle apps is challenging manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to focus on the rider experience with an even larger emphasis on onboard forms of entertainment.
However, all these tiny technological nodes need super-fast relays to provide a seamless infrastructure capable of handling and supporting the data.
I have touched on this in my previous article, the autonomous driving experience will change the way we as consumers will shop for cars. Consumers will no longer purchase a vehicle strictly for transportation purposes.
This provides new challenges for car manufacturers, as they will need to adopt new ways to entice consumers as well as redefining the algorithm that influences purchasing.
Many drivers may choose to avoid purchasing vehicles altogether, relying instead on public transportation and car clubs.
Our global economy is shaped by the advancement of these technologies; our lives have been reshaped by the impact of these innovations which have contributed to our economic development.
We are at the dawn of the next technological revolution, where the wireless network will go hand in hand with data collection and connecting to billions of devices. This will provide us with unique, insights and previously unparalleled capabilities that will change what we do and how we do it.
The automotive industry is a multi-billion dollar behemoth which stretches across the globe and is interwoven into almost all aspects of our modern life.
5G is set to change it and redefine how we think about automobiles as well as how we use them. We should not simply just look at 5G as just the next step in wireless technology. It’s the building block, the foundation for the future of an efficient industry, which will allow us to communicate with the world around us in an effective way.
What exactly is 5G
The “G” stands for “generation.” So this the fifth generation of wireless phone technology which started with 1G in the early 1990s, it expanded to 2G when companies first started enabling people to send text messages between two cellular devices.
Fast forward and the world moved on to 3G, and with that, we had the ability to make phone calls, browse the internet and send text messages. Fast forward once again and 4G and the connected LTE (long-term evolution) to 4G connectivity came to live. LTE became the fastest and most consistent variety of 4G.
5G will build on the groundwork created by 4G LTE. You are still able to do the basics as before, but it will dramatically enhance the speed at which data is transferred across the network.
However, what interests us and will be the cornerstone of Autonomous Technology is that it will make room for the thousands of Internet-connected devices entering our everyday lives seamlessly.
But is 5G that much faster than 4G
In a word: Yes. Speeds will be significantly faster. Currently, 4G LTE transfer speeds top out at about one gigabit per second. That means it takes about an hour to download a short HD movie in perfect conditions.
The problem is, people rarely experience 4G’s maximum download speed because the signal can be disrupted by so many different things: buildings, microwaves, other Wi-Fi signals.
5G will increase download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. That means a full HD movie can be downloaded in a matter of seconds. It will also reduce latency, meaning it will give wireless broadband the capacity it needs to power thousands of connected devices which will reach our homes and workplaces.
What does 5G mean for automotive
Before we can answer this question, we need to highlight some ground rules. A recent study cites: “there are incentive programs to begin building fibre and electric power infrastructure to current roads for future travel.
Proper lanes and parking spaces for autonomous cars, as well as IoT (Internet of Things) network security and network control, are all important collaborative efforts that ensure 5G connectivity remains consistent.”
Allow us to consider the harmonious relationship between the smart city powered by 5G and an autonomous car. With a 5G connection, your car will know when you are due to arrive at work, therefore, taking the optimal route based on traffic data communicated from other cars and the roadways.
Your car will follow that calculated route, using that ultra-fast, ultra-reliable communication between vehicles and infrastructure to get you to your office safely and on time.
The above is simply an example; 5G will enable automakers to enhance vehicle connectivity with the vehicle to everything (V2X) communication, a new protocol for the way cars communicate with other vehicles (V2V), or pedestrians (V2P), or networks (V2N), and even the surrounding infrastructure (V2I).
Will 5G make cars smarter?
Once again, the simple answer is yes, but there are two components that go hand in hand. The first is the Artificial intelligence (AI) (which is the key to the development of autonomous vehicles) but for AI to be able to make all those computation and calculation, it will require data.
5G distributes ultra-reliable connections with lower latency. Its high bit rate will enable the exchange of high volumes of 3D mapping data, and the sharing of sensory data with the AI; which will increase the AI’s situational awareness.
Will 5G make cars safe?
Yes, 5G is set to bring billions in sales to the automotive sector, about $467 billion, in fact, according to a recent study. According to the same study, by 2035, 5G will bring over $1.4 trillion in sales to automotive sectors like agriculture, mining, construction, and transportation.
When it comes to autonomous vehicles V2X supported by 5G, it will play an integral role in improving traffic efficiency and reducing collisions. V2V communication will enable vehicles to sense obstacles beyond the line of sight, this could be shared video information between cars and shared information from pedestrians and infrastructure.
5G V2X will make commuting to work safer, with fewer time-consuming delays. Not only will our easier commutes relieve frustration. Autonomous vehicles will “know” where parking spots are and identify alternatives to street parking, speeding up traffic and reducing congestion.
5G-enabled V2X extends to public transportation as well and will change the way buses and taxis operate. The same impact would be apparent in Commercial trucking and delivery services, where an increased sharing of data means manufacturers can make real-time adjustments to vehicles’ routes avoiding traffic hotspots.
This also means the autonomous vehicles can operate on longer hours without the need for constant supervision instead of compact time scale due to reduced manpower. The true potential of autonomous driving can help reduce and ultimately remove the human driving error, decreasing the nearly 1.3 million road fatalities that occur on our roads each year.
Communication is the key factor of success for a truly autonomous society, to achieve this scale of autonomy there needs to be a free flow of data throughout the infrastructure. Even our simplest example of an autonomous car carrying you to work requires data collection from 5G-connected sensors placed all around the route.
When will 5G be available?
In the UK rollout isn’t set to begin until 2020, according to the government’s 5G strategy and statements from network operators, so we might not see widespread 5G coverage in the UK until 2022 or maybe even later.