How 5G IoT is Defining the Future of Connected Vehicles

With rapid advances in technology, greater access to data, and an ever-increasing number of connected devices, it’s no wonder connected vehicles are becoming the new norm. What may not be as obvious is how 5G IoT will drive this evolution for consumers. 

As per Qualcomm’s report, 5G IoT would be sufficing a value of USD 13.2 trillion by the end of 2035 – allowing for a shift from cloud-centric intelligence (Latency – 100 ms) to distributed intelligence (Latency 1 ms).  

At the heart of such a shift would be the future of connected vehicles – precisely what this article will expand on.   

Why Does 5G Matter for IoT – A Primer 

Connected vehicles are not a passing fad; they’re here to stay. Their market is set to grow at a CAGR of 17.1% to as much as USD 225.16 billion by 2027. 

With the rapid proliferation of connected vehicles and connected devices, manufacturers are now facing new challenges in safely detecting and connecting to the ever-advancing IoT devices. 

As a result, legacy technologies (e.g., Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS) are no longer able to meet the current needs of automakers. To keep up with the growing number of connected devices and ever-increasing demands for speed, the industry must migrate to connect more securely, faster, and more efficiently. 

5G technology will be able to concurrently support such large volumes of connected devices and the high-frequency data bandwidth required for these devices. It will also support the quick transmission and response times necessary for allowing vehicles to drive autonomously or remotely control the devices (e.g., doors). 

5G IoT-Powered Connective Vehicles and the Advancements in the Automotive Industry 

New Mobility Apps for Connected Vehicles 

Consumers are more aware than ever about how their connected cars are gathering and transferring data. As a result, they’re demanding that automakers provide them with more features that allow them to utilize this data for their own personal gain. 

Connected vehicles, while leveraging 5G, will be able to share data (i.e., location/direction) with other users (e.g., friends, family, or the general public), paving the way for a whole new series of advanced transportation-focused apps and services – all without the driver ever needing to input a thing. 

Voice Commands – The New Normal 

With the help of 5G, automakers will be able to monitor, track and record voice commands for every passenger in the vehicle. 

All of this information will be collected, sent, and received seamlessly in real-time. Although it is still too early to say what approach the automotive industry will take with connected vehicles, it’s safe to say that having more data will only mean more driver convenience and utmost facilitation of features. 

Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) Connectivity 

V2I connectivity will be all about making the roads safer and more efficient. For instance, it would be possible for 5G IoT-powered vehicles to know that the road ahead is a construction zone and to alert other vehicles to avoid the area – thus, helping minimize potential accidents and traffic congestion. 

Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Connectivity 

Through V2V communication, vehicles will constantly monitor one another and share this information with the authorities (e.g., via roadside stops or traffic lights). When used in tandem with V2I technology, connected vehicles will be able to make decisions about safe routes and avoid any potential hazards like road accidents that could otherwise cause traffic congestion. 

In-car Speech Recognition 

Speech recognition and natural-language-processing technology will allow cars to understand human speech in real-time. By utilizing this technology, cars will be able to communicate with pedestrians and other drivers at higher speeds, making the roads safer for all. 

The 5G IoT system will work in conjunction with connected devices, providing automakers with an unprecedented level of awareness of what is actually happening around the car while driving. Isn’t this what most consumers would expect out of connected vehicles in the forthcoming days? 

Advanced Predictive Maintenance Features 

As a result of the connected vehicle ecosystem, automakers will be able to monitor and control the health and performance of their vehicles. Different levels of maintenance can be assigned to each individual vehicle, and data will be exchanged between vehicles over V2X and/or V2I communication. 

This will allow the automakers to fully “know” their cars and their customers, as this information can then be used to support proactive maintenance based on the consumers’ driving habits. As a result, we’ll witness safer drivers, reduced fuel consumption, and more consistent vehicle performance, ultimately leading to fewer out-of-pocket mechanical costs for consumers. 

Enhanced Security Features 

5G technology will facilitate automakers to monitor, track and record location data at faster speeds than ever before, ensuring that drivers remain in control of their vehicles. With real-time updates, connected vehicles will be able to share this information with other nearby vehicles (to increase safety), infrastructure, or users on the road (to warn them about potential hazards ahead). 

Reduced Traffic Congestion 

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of 5G technology and the connected vehicle ecosystem. For instance, when connected vehicles are able to self-run and communicate with one another, they will have the means to coordinate their movements in real-time (as well as those of pedestrians), ultimately reducing traffic jams and unnecessary congestion. 

Real-time Computation of Vehicle Information 

It’s not just about the connected car; it’s about what the connected car is doing at all times and how it is performing. With real-time monitoring and protection of car information, drivers will have all the data necessary to make informed decisions (e.g., fuel efficiency, road quality, weather conditions). This will allow them to better plan their trips and avoid potentially dangerous situations. 

Use-Cases – An Insight into The Future of Connected Vehicles 

The connected vehicle ecosystem will provide us with a myriad of innovative use cases that will improve the lives of our future generation. 

“While manufacturers, software companies, and robotics labs have been partnering and competing to put commercially viable self-driving vehicles on public roads for years, 5G provides new opportunities to deploy autonomous driving applications that achieve the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)’s autonomous driving levels 4 and 5.” – Randal Kenworthy, Forbes 

1. IoT-Powered Fleet Management System 

Fleet management is a vital business and is used for things like security, monitoring, scheduling, and efficiency. With this new system, fleet owners will be able to better manage their vehicles, which will, in turn, allow them to better monetize their assets. 

2. IoT-Powered Self-Driving Transportation 

Autonomous vehicles, or “self-driving cars,” are at the forefront of this movement and have been making headlines for years now. 

In concrete terms, this is the holy grail of the connected vehicle ecosystem. The ability to eliminate the driver out of the equation will result in a whole new way of transportation.  

As per Gartner’s estimations, autonomous vehicles will be everywhere by 2023, constituting about 745,705 units — almost 5.4 times the amount in 2018. 

3. Connected Vehicles in the Smart City 

Smart cities are all about connectivity – enabling people to access mobile and web services, improve their quality of life, increase the speed-first responders to respond to emergency situations, and even allow for more efficient energy usage.  

Connected vehicles will be at the core of this “smart city.” This will enable cities like Las Vegas – where people travel for work or pleasure – to be safer and more efficient when it comes to traffic management. 

The Post-Covid Future of Connected Vehicles 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on almost everything, and the automotive industry is no alien to it. Should that mean that the connected vehicles market would suffer in the future? Absolutely not! 

In the short term, however, the growth might slow down a little, as is evident from the measures taken by authorities worldwide. For instance, in May 2020, McKinsey and Company reported that the investment in autonomous vehicles had taken a hit due to the necessity of short-term cash management. Some states even put breaks to testing of connected vehicles, and understandably so.  

Nevertheless, in the long run, the driving factors will again take the front seat. After all, connected vehicles are the future, and with 5G IoT powering it, success pertaining to this sector is assured. 

In a Nutshell 

In the not-so-distant future, cars will continuously monitor all the vehicles and pedestrians on the road to maintain safety and efficiency. In conjunction with V2X technology, connected vehicles will be able to share information with one another and relay it back to an operator at a control center (as they would in an air traffic control tower). 

The more 5G IoT systems are implemented in today’s vehicles, the faster we will get to this point. When the connected vehicle ecosystem is fully implemented, automakers will be able to eliminate out-of-pocket costs by monitoring and controlling their vehicles more efficiently. 

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