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5G networks have “crucial role” to play in autonomous vehicle connectivity

Posted: 27 June 2018 | | No comments yet

Communications service providers should get into position with autonomous vehicle manufacturers now, ahead of the coming 5G boom…

5G networks have "crucial role" to play in autonomous vehicle connectivity

Communications service providers (CSPs) are being urged to take advantage of the boost in efficiency that next-generation 5G networks will bring by becoming an integral part of the autonomous vehicle marketplace.

Gartner, Inc. says that 5G networks may be as much as 10 times more efficient than 4G networks and with that comes opportunities for CSPs to secure future market opportunities with AV manufacturers, especially in the fields of driver safety and data processing and management.

The systems and sensors of AV systems will generate huge amounts of data; Gartner predicts that by 2025, AVs will upload over one terabyte of vehicle and sensor data per month to the cloud – up from from 30 gigabytes 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,” explained Jonathan Davenport, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.

5G will not only be utilised for data uploading and reporting, but for streaming and infotainment services and enhanced security too.

Recent incidents involving AVs 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.

“AVs periodically face a set of conditions they cannot immediately navigate, which results in the need for a vehicle-human handover,” said Davenport. “This handover deactivates the autonomous mode and hands over control to a human driver — but such a handover is not always possible. One potential solution for these scenarios where a handover to the human driver fails is to use remote pilots. Human pilots can be the recipient of a planned remote handover or help recover an AV that has become stuck.”

The safe execution of human-led remote control of AVs 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 the AV, and take over driving control virtually.

As full deployment of 5G networks across the world is still some distance away, the benefits to AVs in the next couple of years will be limited, according to Gartner, but CSPs must act now to secure future market opportunities by ensuring that 5G is part of the AV design process.

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

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