5G plays a key role in autonomous vehicle connectivity

According to a new study, connected vehicles bring a new opportunity for communication service provider
25 June 2018

Connected cars will rely on a strong 5G network. Source: Pexels

Come to think of it, there are a lot of uses of 5G. Businesses have repeatedly found that 5G infrastructure will help with a significant number of new ideas, and enable many of our emerging technologies such as virtual reality and the Internet of Things (IoT).

According to a recent study by Gartner, there are particularly prominent implications of 5G on autonomous vehicles as well.

5G networks may be as much as 10 times more efficient than 4G networks.

With this new level of network capability, communications service providers (CSPs) can secure future market opportunities with manufacturers of autonomous vehicles in the fields of driver safety and data processing and management, according to Gartner, Inc.

Autonomous vehicles systems and sensors will generate unprecedented amounts of data. This will allow automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to extract valuable data insights while limiting the associated provisioning costs.

“CSPs have an opportunity to become strategic partners for OEMs by applying 5G capabilities to address autonomous vehicles OEM data growth,” said Jonathan Davenport, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.

By 2025, it is estimated that autonomous vehicles will upload over 1 terabyte (TB) of vehicle and sensor data per month to the cloud.

This is up from the estimated 30 gigabytes (GB) from advanced connected cars in 2018.

“To seize the opportunity, CSPs need to make sure 5G is included in the design of future vehicles, in the fields of safety and connectivity, where the biggest chances lie,” said Davenport.

5G will also provide passengers of autonomous vehicles with high-quality infotainment services. “As a result, 5G networks make CSPs an important partner for enhanced vehicle systems, be it for safety, data analytics or entertainment,” added Davenport.

Further opportunities for 5G technology to expand and enhance autonomous vehicle safety systems exist. This is fostered by regulators’ examination of the safety performance of autonomous vehicles.

Recent incidents involving autonomous vehicles have sparked negative press and underscored the importance of public safety in self-driving cars.

These events have also highlighted the challenges facing the industry to develop autonomous driving systems that can guarantee a safety performance above that of human drivers.

The safe execution of human-led remote control of autonomous vehicles would require the reliability and low latency that 5G networks could provide.

Once initiated, the technology would allow human technicians in remote facilities to assess live video feeds and vehicle diagnostics from autonomous vehicles, and take over driving control virtually.

As the regulatory environment for AVs continues to evolve, regulators will likely begin to require remote control capabilities from autonomous vehicles OEMs or operators to improve safe operation on public roads.

California-based startup Phantom Auto, for example, is developing remote control solutions for AVs using cellular connectivity.

Similarly, Swedish truck and bus OEM Scania has conducted tests with Ericsson of 5G remote control capabilities for its public buses.

“By design, autonomous vehicles cannot rely on mobile networks such as 5G for core functionality but must utilize multiple technologies to meet performance and safety design objectives. Nevertheless, 5G networks will play a crucial role in handling the massive amounts of data generated by autonomous vehicles and their users for all kinds of purposes, including safety, connectivity, and entertainment,” said Davenport.