As Advanced LTE becomes more of a day to day reality, industry is quickly moving towards the next mobile generation, 5G technology, which will bring important improvements in terms reduced latency, increased reliability and higher throughput.
The automotive industry is one of the industrial sectors that is looking into 5G very seriously to bring in changes of all types related to their industry. From the increased use of IoT to connect cars with each other to connecting with traffic and road services or pedestrians, to the use of mobile technology to offer the driver totally new on-board services.
5G Technology and automotive driving
Automated driving, is one issue that could start to progress with the introduction of 5G. To date, although some automated driving tests have been carried out by cars with on-board sensor systems and the use of high resolution digital maps, it is foreseen that without the use of wireless technology it will not be possible to progress. Vehicles will not only need use an on-board sensor system, but they will also need a vehicle to vehicle and a vehicle to Infrastructure connection to progress and converted automated driving into a reality.
It is forecasted that when automated or semi-automated driving is achieved, wireless connectivity will enable drivers and passengers as well, an increased use of on-board services for leisure and entertainment or allow to use the car as a work space. It is expected that as car connectivity increases, manufacturers will introduce dashboards to facility the above types of services.
Even without automated driving, vehicle connectivity will play an important role increasing road safety and traffic efficiency. Connectivity can inform the driver of road hazard warnings (breakdowns, road works, accidents, etc.), violating traffic lights or speed limits, approaching emergency vehicles, etc.
Intelligent navigation systems, using geo-positioning and digital maps to guide drivers and increase route efficiency are already in use. However, these units will be able to collect data from other cars, road authorities, etc. to calculate the best routes to be taken in any moment in time. The use of 5G networks, IoT and Big Data will allow these systems to become increasingly effective.
New services for an emerging industry
Connectivity and the possibility of data collection related to vehicles will impulse many new business models. “Pay as you drive” and “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) are two of these new business models that are anticipated to be introduced into the market. Pay as you drive is already used by car rental companies and even insurance companies. However, with the use of 5G and IoT for the accurate collection of data, this service will surely increase drastically as measuring the data will be much easier and quicker.
MaaS, the other business model, would allow drivers to find the best means of transport available at any moment in time, so that cars and public transport can be combined. Depending on traffic conditions, train or bus timetables, etc. drivers will be able to plan their route or voyage efficiently. There is also a third business model that would save drivers not only time, but also reduce vehicle expenses, when used by manufacturers. This is “predictive maintenance”. By collecting big data from sensors placed in a large amount of vehicle parts, the manufactures could calculate when faults or breakdowns would most likely happen alerting vehicle owners directly on the vehicle dashboards or calling them in to have maintenance carried out.
In order to implement all these services that have been previously mentioned, the automotive industry and the telecommunications operators would have to work together to firstly ensure that that 5G is always available along roadsides. Especially in more rural areas, where coverage of cellular networks has always tended to be less available, for intelligent transport services to work correctly, 5G network coverage needs to be widespread across the whole road network. Additionally, roaming would play a very important role, in particular for professional transport and logistics companies. Apart from widespread 5G networks, telecommunication operators would also need to work closely with the automobile industry and traffic control to ensure prioritization of important services such as road safety for example.
As with all the developments that have occurred within cellular technology, for sure 5G networks for the automotive industry and other industrial sectors will arrive and introduce important changes to the way that companies place their products onto the market and the way that clients and users benefit from these products.