As the rollout of 5G continues, experts expect the most memorable impacts from this new technology to be felt in the automotive industry. Everything from the production line to roadways have been disrupted by IoT, and 5G will make innovations such as smart highways more functional.
5G, the fifth generation of cellular technology, brings fast and reliable connectivity, enabling billions to be connected together. This will enhance the IoT (internet of things), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). It also has a much lower latency than 4G — it can process data in almost 1 millisecond — meaning devices can now transmit data to each other, and process and react to this data in nearly real time.
So what’s this got to do with cars? Innovations such as self-driving cars and smart highways will become safer and more accurate, and therefore more mainstream on roadways across the world. Keep reading to find out more.
Fully autonomous vehicles
The self-driving cars on the roads today aren’t fully autonomous. Many experts agree that fully autonomous fleets won’t hit the roadways until 5G is mainstream, because of the latency and accuracy needed in the tech to ensure self-driving cars are safer than ones driven by humans.
Connected cars use hundreds of sensors to gather, analyze and react to data, and 4G devices aren’t capable of processing this information fast enough. Edge computing, one essential component of 5G, lets data be computed and stored closer to the device source, which speeds up transmission time. This is what allows 5G devices to have lower latency, allowing them to have sped up connections with nearby devices.
Vehicle-to-everything communication means that sensors on other cars, streets, and even infrastructure can be analyzed by a vehicle on the road. That way, a self-driving car can respond to nearby surroundings and make calculated decisions based on real-time data.
HD road mapping is one example of sensor information that will be vital to fully autonomous vehicles. The technology gives vehicles instant 3D access to roads, allowing them to maintain situational awareness. New detours, for example, will be processed by the vehicle before it takes a turn onto a closed street.
Advanced auto manufacturing
5G’s impacts in the auto industry will start at the assembly line. Faster and more reliable connectivity means car production will be faster and cheaper than it is today. In the short term, remote auto factories will be able to communicate better with the outside world.
Longer term impacts of 5G in auto manufacturing include assembly line robots. Today, assembly lines use tons of cables and wires in order to operate. Wireless, connected assembly lines will be able to build parts (or all) of car body construction without the intricate connections needed today.
Mobile edge computing and the use of AI will make real-time machine learning a reality. These technologies combined together will improve production by bringing learning closer to the original data source.
Faster freight and shipping
The vehicles that transport are goods will also be enhanced by 5G. Faster deliveries and less revenue leakage will benefit both the logistics industry and consumers alike.
Today, broken down trucks carrying goods slow down the delivery process. In the future, companies will be able to speed up roadside assistance by using a remote mechanic. Fleet maintenance will be quicker and more seamless, enabling trucks to get back on the road faster.
Delivery “dead zones” may become a thing of the past thanks to advanced geo-location technology. This means that travel delays in remote areas will be easier to track, and route optimization can become more advanced.
Expect to see major advancements in the full lifecycle of the automotive industry as 5G continues its rollout. Smarter vehicles, infrastructure and manufacturing will improve safety and speed while lower costs for consumers and businesses alike.
This visual first appeared on The Zebra.