The prospects of autonomous vehicles making it to the markets and subsequently appearing on the roads are becoming brighter, and there have been speculations about the role of 5G in these developments.
FREMONT, CA: Ambitious automobile companies have already built prototypes of self-driving cars and are conducting experiments to determine their safety and commercial viability. Although the vehicles are yet to be ready to get on roads, developments in network infrastructure are driving rapid enhancements. The value of wireless technology in making autonomous vehicles viable is common knowledge. Thus, stakeholders are expecting 5G to have significant impacts on self-driving car technology. The extent to which 5G will benefit autonomous cars is yet to be seen, but going by what the experts and auto manufacturers have said, the technology seems to have enormous potential for autonomous vehicles.
Self-driving cars need to be cognizant of the surrounding for safe functionality. This awareness of the surrounding comes about when cars are fitted with sensors that can detect physical features while on the road. Apart from the physical features, cars also have to be aware of all the other self-driving cars to ensure road safety. This can be achieved by connecting all the self-driving cars to each other while they are on the road. Such connectivity is possible through 5G. Powerful 5G networks can facilitate V2V connectivity. Besides, transferring data from sensors in real-time also becomes possible with 5G networks resulting in reduced latency.
Autonomous cars have to react to situations on the road spontaneously. Be it driving or parking, a delay of a fraction of a second can prove to be fatal. With the current network infrastructure, it is difficult to ensure real-time controls. The wider deployment of advanced 5G networks will help protect cars from latency, thus eliminating accidents.
As the coverage of 5G grows, auto manufacturers will show a growing inclination towards equipping autonomous vehicle models with required connectivity equipment. Modern technologies depend on connectivity, and thus, 5G will be an essential element in the evolution of self-driving vehicles.