Unless they have been on Mars, most people will not fail to have heard of the next generation cellular network called 5G. Few of us truly understand how this technology works, we just accept it as part of our connected lives. Now, with 5G just around the corner in science terms, we learn that this new network will be pivotal for automotive applications.
The 5G Experience
Big promises are being made. There have been claims of 5G being up to 100 times faster than our current experience. 5G we are told is important for greater capacity and therefore improved coverage. For the car industry this means that we will see the introduction of something called the ‘PC5 air interface’ which apparently enables direct device-to-device communications. In other words our cars will be able to talk to one another. No one has yet revealed what they will say about us and our driving; probably best not to ask.
Additionally, in this scientific future, cars equipped with 5G will also be able to communicate with other mobile devices and infrastructure, thus opening up the portal to greater vehicle autonomy. Portions of the 5G network could be dedicated to particular tasks. This combination of direct inter-vehicle communications and much improved call and response times will, they say, help vehicles to avoid collisions.
In short, 5G will enable self-driving cars to make virtually instantaneous real-time decisions based on information not only from car sensors and cameras but from smart city infrastructure, other connected vehicles and external sources. Seeing around corners if you like. Communication brands have announced that they are working together to simplify the 5G process for autonomous vehicles, including entertainment. Companies have already demonstrated safety shields for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. When systems detect a possible collision path, a warning is issued. It’s being tested now.
As is usual in the motor industry the technology will first feature in luxury cars but these days the pace at which this science trickles down to the mainstream motors most of us buy has increased. This stuff is not many years away. Many of the features on the way will be extensions of existing technology like traffic alerts but also augmenting high-speed internet access, streaming entertainment videos, gaming and 4K video. It’s all happening inside our cars. Other forthcoming high-tech additions will also include local data updates, lane merging data, sensor/camera data sharing and even, slightly worryingly, remote driving.
This begs the question of how much control is enough. One of the other other features being talked up is platooning, whereby cars fall into regimented lines. Some people love this stuff but many others might perhaps wonder where the line is drawn. One reaction to all this information being passed over a wireless network is that for safety’s sake our cyber-security has to be at a much higher level because of the threat of hacking for criminal purposes or personal threat.
The world can expect to see 5G emerging in the next couple of years, no doubt in our smartphones first. Deployment in our cars must still be much further off. Although this technology could be used to enhance existing safety kit in the short term the idea that some form of roadside sensors relaying information to cars must still be some considerable way off in the real world. The roadside infrastructure needed to cope would be an immense undertaking.
Right now though although the great used vehicles we have for sale
can’t yet sell themselves to you, our friendly staff can certainly help find the right car for you.