Why is 5G telematics a game changer for social connection?

5G, with its lack of latency, high speed and IoT-driven design holds the missing piece of the puzzle for highly automated vehicles. Understanding its tremendous potential in enabling level 3-5 automated cars and exploring the transformative business models that 5G offers for the automotive industry is critical.

What makes 5G the Network for the Connected Car?

From the 30-100 kbps speeds of the 2G network in the 80s to the current 2Mb per second standard of 4G, we’ve come a long way in terms of speed, connectivity, and capability. 5G promises to leapfrog over the 2Gb per second range. However, apart from speed, 5G brings with it very promising benefits, particularly when viewed through the lens of the highly-automated vehicle.

Lower Latency

5G has almost instantaneous response times with a latency less than 1 millisecond, a reduction in latency by ten times compared to 4G. Vehicles with high levels of autonomy will have an array of sensors, cameras, lasers and LIDARs that substitute the eyes, ears, tactile senses, positional accuracy and situational awareness of a human driver. However, to mimic the response time of a human, the latency must be less than 2 milliseconds. This can only be matched on a 5G network. For example, a connected car traveling at 60 mph would travel 2 meters in the time necessary for a 4G network to respond. By then, your car would have experienced a collision with another vehicle in the time it would take to “see” it and receive the signal to stop.

Breakneck Speed

​With speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G is 100 times faster than 4G. Highly automated vehicles, in particular Level 3 to 5 autonomous vehicles, will constantly be “talking" with a host of sensors, generating a massive amount of data that need to be communicated in real-time to other vehicles, smart things, and networks—data to the tune of 2 million gigabits per week (an amount that would take a 4G network months to transfer). ​

Speed is needed for a couple of reasons: 1) New applications will be coming to the vehicle environment that will take advantage of the speeds that are available. These applications will drive services for the vehicle, the driver and the passengers.  Functions that were previously realized on computing systems in the vehicle will move to the cloud or the “edge" to be executed on compute resources that will be located close to the vehicle in roadside units and mobile cell sites. 2) With the massive number of IoT devices connected to the network, it will be important to get on and get off the network quickly. This will improve latency and reduce network congestion.​

Intrinsic Connectivity

​Like 3G enabled social media and 4G music and video streaming, 5G is designed to facilitate a pervasively connected world. Industry projections estimate between 50 and 80 billion devices that will be connected to the network by 2025, which includes everything from mobile phones to thermostats to freight and to cars and trucks.  5G supports a connection density of 1 million connections/km2 – 100 times the number of connected devices per unit area compared with the latest 4G LTE. 5G would be essential for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication whereby vehicles can communicate with other vehicles (V2V), pedestrians (V2P), networks (V2N) and infrastructure (V2I). 5G also defines peer-to-peer communications that is needed for V2X​. This means that cars will communicate directly with one another without needing to go through the network. This reduces latency, a key factor in safety applications.

Highly-automated vehicles will require a failproof, robust and omnipresent wireless network that has extensive coverage, high data transfer speeds, ultra-low latency and zero-failure reliability—all of which 5G promises.  Cybersecurity is a key toolset that will be needed in the new 5G world to protect data and owners from outside threats.

Looking Ahead: Enabling, Securing and Improving the Highly-Automated Ride

​The emergence of 5G also holds tremendous potential in creating transformative business models and exciting applications in the automotive industry, primarily in the domains of safety and experience.

“5G will be a transformational platform for the connected car. It will be the differentiating factor that enables OEMs to provide a broad new range of services that will change the in-cabin experience." - Vishnu Sundaram, Vice President - Telematics, HARMAN​


​A majority of people, are still apprehensive of the security of self-driving cars. 5G, with its huge improvement in latency and robust connectivity, can give the car both reflex-like responsiveness, as well as intelligent insights to secure the ride. This can translate into safety applications that give highly automated vehicles an enhanced level of situational awareness, provide real-time accident risk alerts and inform city-wide traffic and road networks. 5G could also elevate driver assistance systems with provisions for Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Abnormal Vehicle Warning, 'Do not pass' Warning, Emergency Vehicle Warning, Vulnerable Road User, etc.

Ready Connect
A new era has emerged of 4G/5G telematics solutions enabling automotive OEMs to maximize product longevity, versatility and performance, while minimizing the time-to-market. Welcome to Ready Connect.

​And the future is already here. Harman's Telematics Solution can scale to 5G levels and harness its features to reduce communications lag time by 50 times. Thus, enabling advanced V2X safety systems where the car will be able to analyze and react to its environment in real-time.​

​What other opportunities does 5G hold for the highly-automated car? Listen to an insightful panel discussion by industry experts on the Role of 5G Telematics and V2X at Various Levels of Autonomous Driving. 

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