5G will redefine the driving experience of all users

The role of better, more direct communication technologies that allow the cooperation and coordination of all road users and infrastructures

Maxime Flament  CTO, 5GAA

Maxime Flament: 5G will redefine the driving experience of all users

As we look towards the future, we should remember how connected mobility has become synonymous with automated driving, the digitalisation of transport and traffic management. 5GAA has over 130 members, all major industry players from the Telco, Auto and IT industries who are together delivering end-to-end connected mobility services for all road users. Our contribution entails the development, standardisation, testing and deployment of cellular-based communications for the automotive market and the stimulation of global implementation. Commercial market availability is also one of our major priorities.

We primarily address connected mobility by leveraging mobile network technologies such as 4G/LTE, and 5G. Thanks to multi-gigabit speed that will create new opportunities in infotainment and teleoperation use cases, 5G will redefine the driving experience of all users. Such features must be reliable, predictable and provide low-latency Quality of Service (QoS). We have already successfully shown on-road 5G tests combining safety-relevant dynamic map downloads and multi-media streaming. Should the signal be reduced, the first service is guaranteed while the video quality is reduced.

Decarbonising transport is now a core public policy theme around the world in line with the Paris climate agreement’s objectives. One of the long-term aims of the European Union on CO2 emissions is an overall reduction of 80-95% by 2050.

In this regard, mobility systems in general, and transportation in particular, are undergoing profound changes. They will likely evolve more in the next ten years than they have in the previous 50. We should brace ourselves.

Transport is a vital sector in any economy and will doubtless impact fuel modernisation while remaining a key source of employment. But modernising the economy and addressing climate change can and should go hand in hand.

C-V2X and 5G, smart sensors, artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain are examples of emerging technologies with massive potential to help in this transition.

Connected Automated Mobility will be a cornerstone to improve road transport’s sustainability. This positive impact is expected to result from a host of sources, e.g., less congestion, the increase of shared mobility, and synergies with clean mobility.

Moreover, there is increased interest in the potential environmental benefits of C-V2X, or cellular vehicle-to-everything communication. The question is to what extent connected driving, with increasing levels of automation, can lead to sustainability and environmental benefits. Last year, 5GAA asked TNO to conduct a study into the ecological effects of C-V2X communications.

The emission reduction potential of C-V2X services have been shown in various real-world pilots, driving simulator studies and traffic simulation studies. In addition to the literature results, TNO carried out indicative calculations with a microscopic emission calculation tool (EnViVer), using speed pattern data from real-world pilots and microscopic traffic simulations. We used hypothetical speed patterns to illustrate the potential of future use cases where vehicles drive with minimal dynamics (enabled by coordinated movements between vehicles, for example). We also analysed how the identified C-V2X services could be deployed considering the available communication technologies as well technologies expected for the future.

How exactly do these results happen? Some of the services provided by C-V2X that will help reduce emissions include-

  • Assisting the driver to choose an optimal route (route optimisation based on minimising emissions, avoiding congestion to save the driver both time and fuel).
  • Influencing and/or harmonising speeds to such an extent that congestion can be avoided, decreased or resolved, thus reducing travel times and overall emissions.
  • Eco-driving services for situations where the driver (or the vehicle, with higher levels of automation) can anticipate the situation ahead and is mostly free to choose an optimal and fuel-efficient speed and acceleration pattern. The technology could also potentially report back to the road user on issues ranging from when the tires need to be changed or pumped to when an oil change is required. This further adds to the technology’s sustainability, as well-maintained cars can stay on the road considerably longer.

The role of better, more direct communication technologies that allow the cooperation and coordination of all road users and infrastructure could be hugely valuable, in achieving the best environmental impacts.

Connected cars in general could eliminate 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and save 280 million hours of driving every year, according to automotive supplier Bosch, 2017. They may also reduce road accidents (a source of delays and, as a result, increased driving times and emissions) by up to 250,000 a year. This is an impressive range of sustainability benefits for a field of technology whose initial aims were traffic safety and efficiency and general passenger travel comfort.

Connected cars are likely to act as a catalyst for the overall green transition in transport. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), automated or semi-automated cars could reduce energy consumption rates by 90 to 200%- a dramatic impact on the overall fight against climate change and sustainability. When we couple this with the ongoing rollout of electric and hybrid vehicles and the emission reduction this implies, we can see that the road sector is poised to lead the transport sector’s overall response to the green transition. This may spur our sister sectors of rail and aviation in their drives for emission reduction.

The synergies involved in these technologies, which initially focussed on improving safety, have quickly seen spin-offs into one of the most crucial areas of our time. Based on all the facts and figures presented here, we at 5GAA remain ready to continue to give strong engagement in the process of forming the green new deal.

Post green transition, the world will look very different. We currently see these changes accelerating with the recent response to the corona crisis. However, of course, it is a world that will need transport and therefore our sector must change accordingly.

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