Vodafone’s research could pave the way for self-driving cars
Vodafone is testing 5G-based communications systems for vehicles as a means to find ways for cars to talk to each other so they can facilitate safer and more efficient driving.
The telecoms company’s research stems from the increased amount of connectivity found in each generation of car that rolls off the production line. Many of the connected systems in cars help make them safer, but they are mostly reliant on embedded sensors rather than vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Vodafone’s 5G researchers hope to change that.
“While some of the features in new cars such as automatic braking, lane-tracking and blind spot warning already help to reduce crashes, they depend on sensors within the vehicle which have a limited range,” wrote David Lister, 5G research manager, and Bob Banks, R&D programme manager at Vodafone.
“Vodafone is now testing new technology to enable vehicles to talk to each other and to roadside infrastructure over greater distances.”
Read More: What is 5G and how is it different?
5G on the road
The idea behind Vodafone’s aspirations is to setup an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that looks to evolve communications systems in cars so they become more aware of their immediate surrounding environments and those further down the road.
“For example, a car which is part of the ITS will be able to tell other cars of its intention to change lane or to signal an emergency stop. The vehicle could also be told the optimal speed to drive in order to avoid traffic congestion,” the researchers explained.
Given the LTE-V2X nomenclature, Vodafone’s take on vehicle-to-vehicle communications have already been trialled away from the rigours of public roads.
“We have already completed an initial validation of LTE-V2X on a private test track in the UK and are actively developing plans to trial it in Germany. Furthermore, as with all our products and services, making sure customer data is secure and their privacy is protected is central to the design, development and delivery of LTE-V2X,” the researchers said.
And the researchers touted 5G communication between cars as the roadmap to enabling safer and smarter autonomous vehicles.
Increasing numbers of technology firms are getting involved in the connected and driverless car race; allegedly, Apple is making a clandestine foray into the field with talks to acquire McLaren, though the car maker poured water on that rumour bonfire.