Mobile

Not just phones: 5G might drive your next car

A new generation of superfast mobile networks is about to roll out around the world. And it might just be the key to making driverless cars a reality. Julian Satterthwaite reports from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

BARCELONA, SPAIN / GOTHERNBURG, SWEDEN (REUTERS / EINRIDE) – The next generation of 5G mobile networks, and driverless vehicles.

Both need each other.

REUTERS REPORTER JULIAN SATTERTHWAITE,

“So I’m driving a real truck here in Gothenburg, Sweden, but I’m sitting in Barcelona, Spain. And that’s enabled by 5G, which means instant control of something even quite far away.”

This isn’t just a demo.

The semi-autonomous trucks are at work, moving goods between warehouses.

A driver takes over only when they get confused.

Network gear maker Ericsson built the 5G link they depend on.

ERICSSON HEAD OF MOBILITY CLAES HERLITZ,

“We see that data volumes are exploding and it contains a lot of streaming media, a lot of software over the air technology. In fact the entire vehicle is becoming software defined.”

Ideas like this are a big part of the business case for 5G.

The new mobile services due to roll out around the world over the next year or two.

Building the infrastructure will cost tens of billions of dollars and it may be a few years before consumers start spending big money on 5G services.

For one thing, they’ll all need to get new phones first.

Network operators hope businesses will be quicker off the mark and carmakers look like one guaranteed customer.

All the big players are developing driverless vehicles that will need 5G data to understand the world around them.

Here’s the boss of Spanish carmaker Seat:

SEAT CEO LUCA DE MEO,

“A car can produce in a day so many data potentially as 3,000 smartphones.”

Connected cars are just one part of the so-called internet of things.

Soon almost every electrical device will be connected.

On show in Barcelona this week, everything from connected toasters to fridges.

As for transport, well cars and trucks are just the beginning.

The driverless vehicle you get in one day soon, might take to the sky.


Associated Links

  • Ericsson
  • Pelikan
  • ThomsonReuters
  • Telecommunications
  • Satterthwaite
  • South Lakeland District
  • Car
  • Self-driving car
  • T-Mobile
  • Mobile World Congress
  • Technology
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