5G Wireless Technology Key to Connected Car Evolution

Wireless communication will be a key enabler of the connected and autonomous car evolution, forming the basis of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication. This, in turn, will allow vehicles to communicate with each other, pedestrians, roadside equipment, as well the web, according to a new industry survey.

report from 5G Americas, an industry trade organization of telecommunications service providers and manufacturers, indicates 5G technologies will play a major role in V2X communications.

The paper details how emerging 5G technologies will accelerate the adoption of V2X communication.

“The future V2X automobile will require vast amounts of mobile wireless data capabilities for communications as driver and passenger expectations for being connected for driver safety and entertainment continue to grow over time,” Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas, told The Connected Car.

Pearson noted that mobile wireless operators are well positioned to provide excellent coverage for a self-driving vehicle, as operators have widely deployed mobile wireless infrastructure.

“We expect the current and future development of the standards will fully address this dependency on information exchange for V2X,” he said.

Pearson also noted security is a top priority for the mobile wireless industry and continues to be developed and standardized at the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

He explained consumers and OEMs have high expectations on ensuring their connected car will utilize secure communications in its operation, noting this is a necessity for the mobile wireless industry as well.

“The history of cellular networks showcases that security is a priority in the standards development and operator deployment of mobile wireless services and applications,” Pearson said.

Pearson explained the first phase of the 5G standard — 3GPP Release 15 — is expected to be complete by mid-2018, while the second phase of the 5G standard — 3GPP Release 16 — is expected to be completed in December of 2019.

However, he noted the timeline for the widespread use of 5G technology on autonomous vehicles is dependent on the progress of the 5G infrastructure deployments, 5G V2X standards development, and overall 5G V2X ecosystem development.

The report noted 5G-based V2X is expected to enable very high throughput, high reliability, low latency and accurate position determination use cases.

Some of the use cases will involve 5G working in tandem with other technologies including cameras, radar and Lidar.

“As 5G technology in most parts of the world is just beginning in 2019 and 5G standards continue to be developed, it is a bit early to provide an exact forecast for when there will be widespread use of 5G technology for autonomous vehicles as all of these key items need to happen,” Pearson noted.

The paper calls for mobile network operators, OEMs, cloud service providers and regulatory bodies to work together to accelerate development of V2X solutions based on 5G to deliver a brand-new experience for drivers, travelers and other road users in the near future.

However, Pearson cautioned that while the overall progress of cellular V2X and 5G cellular V2X is “significant,” it would likely take some time for the entire ecosystem to be developed and deployed.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.

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