The impact that 5G will have on our driving experience

December 17, 2020

Luke McLeroy
Senior Vice President at Avanci
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5G has arrived and will shape the future of connected cars, ensuring that drivers have a safer and more enjoyable driving experience. In fact, many major auto brands across the globe have already turned their attention to the design and manufacturing of new 5G-enabled models to offer a seamless driving experience, rich with new opportunities.

Improving the safety of travel

According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 1.35 million fatalities each year as a result of road traffic accidents. But thanks to new 5G technology developed specifically for automotive applications – such as the introduction of vehicle to everything (V2X) communications – road safety is expected to be vastly improved.

V2X significantly improves the flow of information between vehicles, pedestrians, and road infrastructure through the creation of ultra-reliable, high bandwidth, and low-latency data links that were not possible in the past. These V2X communication links enable data to be shared instantaneously, giving vehicles the capability to “sense” danger and take preventative measures to avoid collisions faster than a human driver could react. In fact, auto manufacturer Seat estimates that 68% of accidents could be avoided by using 5G technology combined with cameras, sensors, and beacons as part of city infrastructure.

Many of the features of V2X technology will increase safety on our roads. One example, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, allows vehicles to communicate directly with one another without traversing any other network nodes. This advance allows one vehicle to issue warnings to other vehicles on the road, which can help to avoid collisions, avoid road hazards, and manage traffic congestion. Another example, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication, creates communication channels between a vehicle and nearby infrastructure. The technology will be used, among other things, to sense an upcoming red light, and then adjust the vehicle’s rate of travel to maximize fuel economy or even automatically slow down or stop the vehicle if the driver fails to do so.

Improving the driving experience

Critically, 5G’s enhanced connectivity and higher data rates will also enhance the driving experience. Many of today’s drivers and passengers are looking for cars to keep pace with other parts of their digital lives. According to McKinsey, 40% of consumers would change car brands just to gain more connectivity within their vehicles, rising to 61% for drivers in China alone. User demand for connectivity is only increasing, as drivers seek to unlock new benefits that make driving more comfortable.

As the 5G Automotive Association points out, 5G technology will enhance any journey by powering real-life traffic information to optimize a driver’s trip, for example, with the ability to find the closest free parking space or enabling predictive maintenance to save drivers both time and money.

But 5G won’t just benefit drivers, it will benefit passengers too. As Christoph Voigt, head of connectivity at Audi put it, “the trip will be considerably more entertaining” with the introduction of connected cars. That could mean being able to, in just a few seconds, download and start streaming content during the ride or join a video call.

A recent study from Nokia found that the majority of vehicle owners are interested in enhanced connectivity in the car, with improved navigation and safety features the lowest-hanging fruit. It’s clear that drivers want a vehicle to do more than just get them from A to B. With wireless technology under the hood, vehicles can stay in sync with information over the web, the cloud and whatever comes next.

5G – along with autonomous driving and electrification – is one of the most exciting technological innovations to happen to vehicles. Automakers that tap into this opportunity will enable their customers to benefit from a number of unique advances and position themselves to meet the growing demand for cars that keep pace with consumers’ digital lifestyles.

Stay tuned for more!