Why 5G Technology Is Necessary for the Development of Self-Driving Cars

One of the most exciting developments in technology is undoubtedly that which is related to 5G. The super-fast connectivity that 5G is set to deliver will be utilized in a wide range of ways, including many day-to-day tasks.

No wonder everyone is becoming more and more enthusiastic about the development of 5G. In all regards, faster connectivity and a more extensive reach of services will conceivably bring a better online experience.

While it is easy to see how that will impact smartphone usage (for example), it is in the area of self-driving cars where the excitement is brewing. As self-driving cars continue to be tested by various companies and organizations, more people are growing interested in the way in which they can become part of an individual’s everyday reality.

To ensure you are up-to-date on this game-changing technology, read on to learn why 5G technology is necessary for the development of self-driving cars.

The Limits of 4G Technology

The current offering of 4G networks is not robust enough for the development of self-driving cars. While 4G is adequate for the usage of maps, location sharing, and car-sharing apps, it isn’t powerful enough for the next level of transportation—self-driving cars—as it cannot render the required capacity for human-like reflexes in vehicles. By introducing 5G technology, the communication orders for vehicles will be affected dramatically and will help to bring into the world the next era of car-to-car communications.

On current 4G networks, a self-driving car would not be able to identify a roadblock miles away, nor comprehend another vehicle’s plan to switch lanes in a second. In addition, it wouldn’t have the understanding (the data) to be able to modify its speed and position to offset these movements. However, self-driving cars connected to 5G networks would be able to do these things and more.

Unlike 4G networks, 5G extends a variety of options to car manufacturers who are looking to take part in the evolving transport marketplace and offer connected and autonomous cars. If you are curious about this of-the-moment subject, consider attending the Autonomous Vehicle Technology Exhibition in Dubai and other events around the world that focus on emerging technology.

The Benefits of 5G Technology

5G technology is set to bring faster speeds to networks (up to 20 times faster than 4G) and lower latency which will enable it to be more responsive to both individual and device’s requests, meaning that the data sent between two 5G devices will be almost immediate. This is important because it relates to the time between a sensor recognizing risk on the road, and a cloud-based server understanding the danger and responding appropriately.

To put it in perspective, on a 4G network, this can take almost 50 milliseconds, while 5G will dramatically decrease that timeframe to only one millisecond. For the car to be able to make these decisions, it requires a vast amount of data which makes the emphasis on both the upload and the speed of that upload vital.

Cars communicating with one another through a cloud server is one benefit of 5G. Also, cars will be able to talk to their environment, with the intention of reducing both congestion and pollution. As vehicles become more connected with each other and the locale in which they are moving, the infrastructure facilitated by 5G networks will enable cities to have more information. They can then use this data to make more informed decisions relating to community planning and efficiencies in systems.

What is more, 5G technology will be able to connect to many devices at the same time without forfeiting performance. For car owners, the combination of 5G networks with self-driving cars means that it will be possible to remotely check battery levels, quickly locate charging stations, and benefit from smart route outlining. In other words, it will enhance all elements of car ownership and movement.

5G will work by utilizing a kind of encoding named OFDM and will operate on frequencies above 6 GHz.

What are the Next Steps for 5G Implementation

5G technology is coming at the right moment as it is going to impact not only transportation services but also all elements of the new Internet of Things data age. The combination of 5G networks and artificial intelligence is essential if the age of consumer technology is going to be powered.

More than anything, there needs to be more research and development done on the part of car manufacturers and independent companies who are operating in this space. Additional collaboration between these manufacturers and firms also needs to happen to ensure that the potential of 5G and self-driving cars are realized. At the moment, most research is being conducted on and in urban areas; however, for self-driving cars to really take off, there also needs to be a focus on more rural areas.

For 5G networks to be fully utilized and implemented, government regulation, telecommunication deployments, and an increase in the spectrum are needed. Additionally, due to the structure of 5G (across three bands: a low-, mid-, and high-band), countries need new antennas and transceivers. These need to relate to the millimeter-wave (the higher band range, either 28 or 39 GHz range) and include tiny cells, steerable antennas, and beam-forming.

Specifically, when talking about the future of 5G and cars, the universal standard or standards must be verified. In addition to ratifying a 5G communications standard, determining where the data will be stored and what rules car manufacturers must follow is of the utmost importance.

Companies and organizations involved in the development of 5G technologies and self-driving cars need to explain how these technologies are going to be associated and regulated within the connected vehicle environment, and how these developments affect the transportation environment.

There is still plenty more that needs to be done before self-driving cars become the norm. The technology of self-driving cars is a complex matter, but the arrival of 5G is undoubtedly going to boost the potential and speed up its arrival.

What do you think about the emergence of 5G technology and self-driving cars? Are you excited? Nervous? Confused? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Ahmed Bahrozyan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Transport Agency – Roads and Transport Authority in the United Arab Emirates which is responsible for providing for the needs of public transport in the city. He is also Chairperson of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport organizing committee.

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