Is 5G network a necessary condition for self driving cars?


Is 5G network a necessary condition for self driving cars?

Author: Grand Brigade

The loyal fans of 5G network believe that this new technology can not only provide faster connection and data download capability than 4G network, but also deal with more massive communication tasks, and the auto driving vehicle that is moving to maturity gradually will also need the help of 5G network in the future.

But is it impossible for an autopilot to live without 5G?

All along, the telecommunications industry has a presupposition for the future, that is, the automatic driving vehicle equipped with sensors to the teeth will collect and receive information through the network. This process must be completed between electro-optical flint.

The industry has also given the concept its name, Vehicle-to-everything.

To achieve this goal, the vehicle's detection capability must cover all blind spots and prevent accidents in advance. That is to say, when the vehicle is running, sensors on the vehicle need to collect three pieces of information:

1, weather and road conditions;

2. Is there an accident?

3. Obstacles and moving objects around vehicles.

Once the information is collected, the data can either be processed by the on-board computer for real-time decision-making or sent back to the cloud for further guidance.

Smarter than human beings

Suppose Vehicle A is running at a speed of 100 km/h, and suddenly Vehicle B appears in front of Vehicle A. To avoid accidents, the sensors on the two vehicles must be able to communicate with each other. Vehicle A brakes quickly and Vehicle B speeds up to prevent accidents.

That is to say, engineers want not only to connect self driving cars with clouds, but also to make them interact with each other.

"We have to figure out how long it takes information to travel between sensors and, of course, how long it takes to get back to the on-board computer and the computer to analyze and make decisions, which must be faster than a human driver, less than two milliseconds." NOKIA Jane Rygaard explains. "We need a network to achieve this goal, and 5G is the best choice."

Ordnance Survey (British mapping agency) also agrees with this view. "When you press the switch to turn on the lights, it lights up the house in an instant. We also need this speed on the autopilot car, so the vehicle must stop promptly when it meets the situation. Therefore, high frequency 5G signal is a necessary condition here.

However, the exchange of information between vehicles is not enough. The Swedish telecom giant Ericsson believes that when serious disasters or serious traffic jams occur, authorities should send timely alerts to autopilot cars and warn them to switch to other routes.

Ericsson also conducted tests in Stockholm in conjunction with Volvo and Scandinavia. If a terrorist attack occurs, the police have the ability to stop hijacked Internet vehicles completely and prevent them from entering the core area to cause more damage.

Automatic driving level

The American Society of Automotive Engineers is most familiar with the classification of automatic driving vehicles. In the future, vehicles will be upgraded step by step until the Level 5 level all-weather terrain automatic driving is realized.

Market research firm Gartner believes that Level 3 and Level 4 self driving cars will come out at the end of this year. By 2025, the number of self driving cars in the world will exceed 600 thousand.

Millimeter wave antenna

Ordnance Survey believes that self driving cars are likely to support 5G networks, but initially they must be deployed in geographic areas that have been carefully surveyed, such as densely populated cities.

Right now, the British government is making elaborate 3D maps of Britain that visualize all permanent objects, such as buildings, street signs and bridges. Of course, those temporary structures, such as Christmas decorations, hanging flower baskets and cranes, will also appear in the 3D map, and all these affairs may block the 5G signal in the city and affect the performance of the self driving vehicle.

If we want to ensure the seamless connection between the self driving car and the mobile network, the existing 4G antenna on the building is not enough. We have to install some small millimeter wave antennas every 200-300 meters.

"Existing mobile base stations may need to increase 60 or 70 millimeter wave transmitters and receivers." Ordnance Survey management consultant Richard Woodling explains.

Although full automatic driving will not be able to land for a while, Ford hopes to launch the Level 4 level self driving car in 2021.

In order to achieve this goal, Ford is striving to draw a mountain, water and vegetation in Miami. In addition, Ford's simulation software is quite standard, can help vehicles analyze the current situation, away from unsafe consequences.

However, Woodling still does not expect autopilot to "occupy" the city in the short term.

"I don't think I can see an autopilot" occupying the city "in my lifetime. He said. "It's impossible for you to plug them into London and then confidently say that everyone can use autopilot cars, and we are still a long way from the maturity of this technology."

5G or Wi-Fi?

Some people in the industry are also not optimistic about the "marriage" between 5G and autopilot.

Given that the automotive industry is already recommending networked cars, it is likely that they will continue to use the existing 4G network in the future and then use Wi-Fi as a supplement.

"Even in places where there is no network signal, the automatic driving vehicle must have 100% safety and reliability. If we have to implement such a technical parameter, why do we need 5G network? " Prof William Webb, a consultant, said he also wrote a book called The Myth of 5G: When Vision Decoupled from Reality.

"In my opinion, C2C communication is really important and can enhance vehicle safety, and 4G or Wi-Fi can Hold this difficult task, don't forget these vehicles are directly connected."

Enrico Salvatori, chairman of Qualcomm's European division, disagrees with Prof Webb that Qualcomm's products are already standard for 33 carmakers around the world.

"Wi-Fi can solve short-range communication problems, and V2X is much more complex, it allows vehicles to connect to the network, the city, the cloud, and so on, so you have to develop a standard that encompasses all end-to-end applications." Enrico Salvatori explains. "It must be able to stay connected at any distance, no matter how far or near."

Ford was very calm. He thought he was in the middle of the debate.

"We used to be a supporter of Wi-Fi, because at that time, only this technology was best used." Don Butler, head of Ford networking platform and products, explains. "But now we believe that mobile network is more suitable for V2V communication than Wi-Fi."

Gartner also believes that 5G will have an impact on autopilot in the future, but there is another problem.

"5G is indeed essential for the development and application of autopilot, but we must first show two limiting conditions. First, the network must be true 5G, but the vehicle must have full automatic driving ability." Gartner wrote in the report. "Now, these two conditions are unlikely to be realized for a short time."


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