Why 5G Is Important for Autonomous Driving Technology?

Typically, people think of 5G as an upgrade of 4G, which will allow them to download movies almost instantly. As this might be true and will probably be their first impact on emerging technology, 5G has a lot more to offer.

It gives the essential shift in industries like healthcare and automotive. City infrastructure will benefit most of this technology. The smart infrastructure might finally become a reality, providing a safer road environment together with connected vehicles.

There are self-driving car manufacturers who have started testing vehicles on the roads. Even though they haven’t said much about 5G, it’s widely believed that it’s critical for such cars’ full potential. Some of the reasons for that are not only the extra speed of 5G, but it’s lower latency and ability to connect with multiple devices at once.

Latency is the time delay between the request and its actual completion. Lowering this time to minimal is crucial for autonomous driving, as sensors will be able to operate instantly with almost no delay. For comparison, with 4G the latency time takes around 50 milliseconds and with 5G this time is lowered to just one millisecond.

It is, of course, a significant advantage for the gaming industry and virtual reality, but when it comes to connected and autonomous vehicles, it could save lives.

Self-driving features are already in widespread use, but we don’t seem to be getting much closer to fully autonomous cars. 5G could be the missing puzzle piece we need to get at least a step forward. Let’s find out if that is true.

The Evolution

Ever since it was first developed, the wireless data network has tremendously advanced. It made it possible to develop life-changing technologies. Looking all the way back to the 80s to know, the speed of evolution of the networks is truly rapid.

The start of the new millennium brought 3G, which turned phones in multifunctional devices for entertainment, browsing, shopping, and much more. A few years after 4G, that is also the current generation of network, improving the bandwidth and speed. It allowed real-time location-sharing and information.

As we mention sharing, we couldn’t skip the fact that the 4G gave birth to companies like Lyft and Uber that have gained massive popularity with their shared mobility services.

Nevertheless, technologies are also evolving, and 4G is already not good enough to cover them. That’s why 5G is now on its way.

Edge Computing

Edge computing offers a long list of advantages. Experts also recognize it as a significant trend for enterprises. It allows faster data processing and reduced latency. However, it faces many challenges when it comes to network reliability.

Autonomous vehicles come with vast amounts of unstructured data, which has to be managed in some way while protecting their privacy. With the help of 5G, edge computing will provide lightning-fast response time, because of the lower latency and possibility to offload tasks for better location awareness.

What Makes 5G Essential For Autonomous Cars?

5G technology is expected to be very reliable and ultra-fast. What’s more, it’s set to be a fully responsive network. The fifth-generation system will enable us to use advanced technology at their full potential.

Autonomous vehicles rely mostly on sensors for driving. However, a huge amount of sensors generate enormous amounts of data. 4G is not entirely able to handle, process, and analyze these amounts of data. It has to be faster to deal with all that successfully. Self-driving cars require next-level data processing capabilities. Its speed needs to be the same as human reflexes, to mimic their function.

Experts suggest that self-driving vehicles of the future will generate 2 Petabytes of data each, per year. It equals to 2 million GB. The best Wi-Fi connection available will take months to transfer a week-worth of data. For that reason, such vehicles can’t operate at their full potential before we have a much faster network available.

Companies like Intel and Qualcomm are now working on chips that will turn autonomous vehicles into data centers, so they can make more complex decisions in real-time.

Once adopted at full scale, 5G will offer speed up to a hundred times faster than the current 4G. Of course, it comes with many possibilities for automotive manufacturers, used for their vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-everything connectivity.

5G’s low latency will finally enable the development of more safe and reliable vehicles on the road. They are projected to be safer than human-operated ones. It will leave skepticism on autonomous driving aside and will make self-driving cars more trustworthy.

Faster, Safer and More Efficient Vehicles

If you’re still not convinced that 5G is essential, let’s have a look at a technology automotive manufacturers have been working on. The remote autopilot feature.

In case of emergency, which caused the self-driving vehicle to fail in navigation, the driver would be able to take the wheel. But, you might wonder what happens if he isn’t able to do it. That’s why remote autopilots are being developed. These are trained drives that stay in a simulator and can take over instantly. 5G is needed to make this feature work.