THE NEED FOR 5G SPEED
The telecoms industry envisions autonomous cars equipped with hundreds of sensors collecting and receiving information all at once over a network.
It calls this concept "Vehicle-to-everything" (V2X). To achieve this, the car needs to detect blind spots and avoid collisions with people, animals or other vehicles on the road.
As the car drives, its sensors will pick up information about:
weather and road conditions
obstacles and objects moving near the car
Once the information is gathered, either an on-board computer will make an instant decision, or the data could be sent into the cloud to be processed, and then a decision would be sent back to the vehicle.
Smarter than humans
Imagine a scenario where Car A is travelling down a highway at 80mph. Suddenly, Car B pulls out in front of Car A.
To avoid an accident, the sensors on both cars would need to talk to each other. As a result, Car A would brake, and Car B would speed up, in order to avoid a collision.
AUTONOMOUS - IoT DATA & DRONES AT THE EDGE
THE NEED FOR AUTOIOT
UK national mapping agency Ordnance Survey agrees: "When you switch a light on, it turns on immediately. That's what you need with autonomous cars - if something happens, the car needs to stop immediately. That's why the high frequency 5G signals are required."
"We need to look at how long it takes for the message to be transmitted between sensors and then get to the computer in each car, and then how long it takes for the computer to make a decision, and all of this has to be in less time than a human would take to make a decision - 2 milliseconds," Jane Rygaard, of Finnish tech firm Nokia
Smarter than humans
But it's not just about the car itself - technology firm Ericsson says that in the event of a major disaster, or severe congestion around a football stadium, authorities could send instant alerts to autonomous cars, warning them to use alternative routes instead.
Ericsson has conducted tests in Stockholm, Sweden with car manufacturer Volvo and truck maker Scania, using a counter-terrorism scenario whereby police were able to disable a hijacked connected truck or prevent it from entering certain geo-fenced locations.