Connecting private vehicles and public transport with 5G will completely revolutionize the way that we will travel in our day to day lives.
There are two types of communication that will provide us with enhanced connectivity: vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.
Not only will they make our roads a great deal safer, but they will make vast improvements that will affect things such as pollution, productivity and overall journey time.
With the emergence of automated and driverless vehicles, vehicle-to-vehicle communication has become one of the most highly-anticipated developments for 5G.
Cars that are able to monitor vehicle and journey factors using sensors, that then send and receive information to one another wirelessly in order to ‘talk’ and ‘listen to’ key information in close-to real time, will provide an abundance of data that can be used to improve a number of current issues including road safety.
V2V technology could be used in a number of ways to increase safety on our roads. For example, by letting a car behind know almost instantly when there has been a high-impact collision and other cars are applying their brakes heavily; or reporting on changes in weather conditions throughout a journey to allow for other commuters to better prepare themselves for the road conditions ahead.
For this technology to be affective, communication needs to be almost instantaneous. After all, milliseconds could be the difference between a close-call and a fatal collision.
To achieve this speed of interconnectivity, vehicles must be able to transmit and receive data as quickly as possible, meaning signals need to be sent directly rather than passing to a base a station and back again.
Unlike in-vehicle connectivity, which can run happily off mobile signals when they are available, this technology requires a much-improved out-of-vehicle network connection to work safely. 5G reception must provide a continuous and reliable signal that doesn’t bounce off moving vehicles, buildings or other surfaces.
Developments in network slicing, small cells and LoRa technologies (all of which are being plugged as core to the 5G model) could provide a solution to these issues.
The same vehicles that interconnect with other vehicles using V2V will also be also be able to connect to the infrastructure around them, such as traffic lights, bus stops and even the road itself.
Vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity will allow commuters or the vehicles themselves to react to the road ahead before they are physically at the location. Again, this will increase safety on the roads by reducing external danger factors and increase reaction times for drivers. However, it will provide a number of other benefits to commuter productivity and overall journey time.
Cars will be able to assess the route ahead, avoiding congested areas and planning alternative routes as the journey unfolds. Not only that, it could offer alternative transportation by ‘listening to’ current bus or train times and assessing the fastest journey in real-time.
In order to collect and respond to other cars as well as infrastructure in close to real-time, connected cars require data. An awful lot of data.
They need the scalability and storage capabilities that the cloud offers, because without it the car itself would require an incredible amount of processing power. Something that wouldn’t be cost effective or particularly environmentally friendly.
V2V and V2I is heavily focused on driver and passenger safety, efficiency and infrastructure improvements, but there are a lot of things about 5G technology that will make our vehicles a more fun, enjoyable and personal place to be.
Driver personalised services aren’t a new thing, but with the increased speed and connectivity 5G could offer they will take a giant leap forward to provide us with a plethora of applications making each journey completely personal to you.
What if your car automatically connected to your smart devices as you approached it? The on-board computer would immediately know your to-do list and diary schedule, pre-planning the route it puts in order of priority to make your day the most efficient. It would then load your favourite playlist as you sit in your driver’s seat and automatically adjust the seating height and mirrors to the optimum position for you.
These are just a fraction of the benefits 5G could bring within the vehicle and transport sector, but within a capable network and with enough refinement they are sure to make a big difference to our day to day lives in the not too distant future.