As a leading automotive supplier, the HARMAN Connected Car team knows an important technology when they see one. After all, we were responsible for the world’s first single DIN radio/navigation system produced more than 20 years ago. But there is another paradigm shift on the horizon and it’s going to take a totally new type of connectivity for automakers to keep up—it’s going to take 5G.
The automotive industry is now at a critical intersection: communication, information, and control are all demanding new technology to support their impacts on everyday life. The car will need to adapt, so connectivity during transport is on par with connectivity at home and in the office. As it stands, the current 4G LTE network cannot provide the data rate or latency needed to keep a car connected to more demanding services and infrastructure networks. Essentially, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication won’t be possible without 5G, which can enable data rates up to 20 Gbps and ultra-reliable, low latency communications with only 1 ms delays. It will also allow for Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) which sets the foundation for an IoT-powered future where a car can interact with millions of connected devices, from VR gadgets to smart traffic projects.
Not only will 5G be necessary to handle the technical requirements of future mobility, it will be needed as the role of the automobile changes. We see a future where many people will turn to car-sharing services to use a vehicle on-demand – and that vehicle could be entirely autonomous. Because this change won’t happen overnight, ensuring these types of vehicles interact safely with the legacy cars and trucks owned and piloted by human drivers today will be critical to the success of future mobility. 5G is currently the only network that can support a smooth transition period.
Another area where 5G benefits connected cars is safety. With the speed at latency of 5G, ADAS features become much more effective – including the ones already available today such as blind spot monitoring and lane departure control. As autonomy increases, cars will also need systems to manage cooperative driving, traffic congestion, pedestrian warnings, traffic light and speed advisories, and even fuel and charging station discovery. 5G provides network connectivity and communication capabilities that allow these systems to function properly to create an interactive vehicle ecosystem.
In as little as four years from now, the cumulative number of next generation internet-connected cars could reach 220 million. Each one will need control units that have never been seen before – such as HARMAN’s own Telematics Control Unit (TCU). This first-to-market 5G-ready control unit supports a host of functions, such as Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA) which allows for seamless software updating, and V2X. Together with Samsung’s experience with telecommunications, the system can help enable 5G as the backbone of future mobility.