Driving with a sixth sense

Imagine being able to see into the future. To prevent possible conflicts before they occur. The 5G connected car will let drivers do just that. 5G connectivity gives drivers predictive information for faster, better decision making.

It means the 5th generation of network connectivity. In the case of 3G, users had a high speed bandwidth to connect to the internet for the first time from their mobile phones. When 4G came along, it was faster and allowed for consumption of online video and larger files. Now, with 5G we will see the Internet of Things finally take shape.

"Before, the car only gave information the driver could see. Now, thanks to 5G technology, the car will get information from the city before the driver sees it.", Cesar de Marco, SEAT engineer. The 5G connected car in a smart city can detect pedestrians, cyclists and static obstacles. In this way, drivers will get predictive information to make faster, better decisions.

Hardware like infrared cameras, sensors and beacons are embedded into the infrastructure to communicate with this connected car. In the case of pedestrians, cameras connected to traffic lights detect the pedestrians. Information is sent to the 5G network, then back to the vehicle to alert the driver.

"For cyclists, we used additional techniques because they are moving a bit faster. We added electronics to the bike, and small electronic markers in the city infrastructure," according to de Marco.

"With 5G connectivity, the reaction time from when the car detects an obstacle to when it is communicated would be about 5 milliseconds," says de Marco.

One of the characteristics of 5G technology is the low latency, or the time it takes for a network to respond to commands. Humans, for example, respond to touch, sight or smell in about 150 milliseconds.

Cars fitted wit 5G technology are only as successful as the environment they operate in. Local administrations and telecommunication companies must put the infrastructure in place first. "We are upgrading our system networks and deploying our servers closer to the end user," says Telefonica spokesperson Leticia Lopez. "And we are using a traffic management application that gives real time data."

Pedestrians, cyclists and motor bike drivers account for almost half of all traffic related facilities in Spain. Now, with 5G technology on the horizon, accidents could be reduced by 68%, according to international 5G automotive associations.

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