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According to market research firm Gartner, 5G networks may be as much as 10 times more efficient than 4G networks.
The firm said with this new level of network capability, communications service providers (CSPs) can secure future market opportunities with manufacturers of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the fields of driver safety and data processing and management.
5G will also provide passengers of AVs with high-quality infotainment services.
"As a result, 5G networks make CSPs an important partner for enhanced vehicle systems, be it for safety, data analytics or entertainment," said Jonathan Davenport, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.
The firm said that AV systems and sensors will generate unprecedented amounts of data. This will allow automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to extract valuable data insights while limiting the associated provisioning costs, Gartner said.
Gartner also pointed out that the recent incidents involving AVs have sparked negative press and underscored the importance of public safety in self-driving cars and these events have also highlighted the challenges facing the industry to develop autonomous driving systems that can guarantee a safety performance above that of human drivers.
"AVs periodically face a set of conditions they cannot immediately navigate, which results in the need for a vehicle-human handover," explained Davenport. "This handover deactivates the autonomous mode and hands over control to a human driver - but such a handover is not always possible. One potential solution for these scenarios where a handover to the human driver fails is to use remote pilots. Human pilots can be the recipient of a planned remote handover or help recover an AV that has become stuck."
The safe execution of human-led remote control of AVs would require the reliability and low latency that 5G networks could provide. Once initiated, the technology would allow human technicians in remote facilities to assess live video feeds and vehicle diagnostics from the AV and take over driving control virtually.
Furthermore, Gartner expects that it will generate only limited benefits for AVs in the next five years.
"By design, AVs cannot rely on mobile networks such as 5G for core functionality, but must utilize multiple technologies to meet performance and safety design objectives," added Davenport.
"Nevertheless, 5G networks will play a crucial role in handling the massive amounts of data generated by AVs and their users for all kinds of purposes, including safety, connectivity, and entertainment, he added.
"In addition to offering solutions, CSPs have to build support for their 5G technologies and establish them as the de facto communication standard. This would be best achieved by supporting standards committees and working with local governments to facilitate the development of advanced use cases, such as metropolitan traffic management," concluded Davenport.