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.
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.
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.
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.
As Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN President and CEO, says, “With the emerging popularity of shared mobility and in-vehicle technology however, value is now being measured by experience-per-mile." 5G ratchets the experience-per-mile by many notches with highly personalized and seamlessly ultra-connected passenger entertainment and experience applications such as next-generation in-car entertainment with VR/AR, AI-driven personal assistants and real-time traffic and congestion alerts. Customized vehicle care services, Remote Vehicle Analytics, and reliable Over-the-Air Updates (OTA) will make vehicular software maintenance a breeze. In many cases this can address safety issues with minimum delay.
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.