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5G: The missing piece in the puzzle for autonomous vehicles?

The role out of 5G is set to drive forward the concept of driverless technology and smart cities.  Increased speeds at which data can be shared between a vehicle – for example a sensor detecting a hazard and that data being uploaded to the Cloud, is approximately 50 times faster than under a 4G connection.

This almost instant upload speed means not only will autonomous vehicles be able to be controlled in real time through the Cloud, but the way in which vehicles can communicate with each other will enable towns and cities to implement pro-active traffic management – your driverless vehicle will be able to get you from A – B using the most efficient route by analysing real time traffic data collected and fed back from other autonomous vehicles and sensor technology embedded around the road network.

The advent of 5G has already seen the likes of Ford and Audi partner to develop vehicles that “talk” to traffic lights.  BMW have announced a partnership with China Unicom to build an Internet of Vehicles and Volvo through their partnership with Ericsson are also testing the use of autonomous commercial vehicles in a facility in Sweden.

This almost instant upload speed means not only will autonomous vehicles be able to be controlled in real time through the Cloud, but the way in which vehicles can communicate with each other will enable towns and cities to implement pro-active traffic management.

The application of this technology in transportation seems almost infinite and is likely to change the criteria on which a vehicle is chosen – driving performance, it would seem, will be a redundant consideration.

In conclusion, whilst 5G is likely to revolutionize the automotive industry and bring autonomous vehicles with their efficiencies and positive environmental benefits, there are going to be increased challenges around data protection and privacy – 5G will require more network sites which means that location data will be more accurately collated by those that you want and potentially, those that you don’t want.

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