5G Automotive Technology and The Future of Road Safety

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As 5G towers go up around the world, many industries are preparing for the impacts of better connectivity and larger bandwidths. Connected mobility systems, like connected cars and ride-sharing apps, stand to benefit significantly from 5G automotive technology, as these systems rely on constant and consistent flows of data between cars, sensors, and people. 

As more car manufacturers adopt 5G technologies, the benefits to drivers scale due to network effects. For example, according to a study by McKinsey, even just a 20 percent adoption rate of advanced telematics can tangibly improve road safety. 5G automotive technology is more than just telematic sensors: it includes cellular V2X communications, onboard WiFI, and the foundations for true autonomous driving.

Safer roads are a consistent goal of policymakers, automotive manufacturers, and drivers alike. As such, public safety will always be a guiding principle in the development of these technologies. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the most important ways 5G technology will materially improve public safety.

Telematics and smart sensors

Telematics refers to technologies and devices that merge telecommunications and informatics in vehicles – in other words they communicate data from or about the vehicle to another source, whether it’s the driver, a monitoring center, or public safety administrators. They’re one of the primary beneficiaries of 5G technology, as it will allow these sensors to transmit more data, faster than ever before.

These sensors help enable the C-V2X framework by which vehicles can communicate with one another, other drivers, and monitoring stations. This information helps cars orient themselves spatially on the road, which is critical in improving popular safety features like automatic braking, blindspot detection, and even autonomous driving. 

Today, many of these features rely on vehicle-mounted cameras, image processing, and machine learning. V2X communications will increase the reliability of telematics by aggregating data for analysis from every vehicle in range, rather than just what can be seen by the cameras of the vehicle. This allows for better planning, preparation, and reactions on the part of both the driver and the vehicle’s onboard computer.

Smart diagnostics for maintenance and public safety

Most modern vehicles have diagnostics readily available from their onboard computers. These data are crucial to maintaining and repairing vehicles, as they help mechanics diagnose issues, while alerting drivers to when they need to bring their vehicles in for service. 

5G technology can improve the ways in which this data is shared between drivers, mechanics, insurance companies, and even public safety. If a car needs new brakes, diagnostic sensors can alert the driver before it’s too late. Alternatively, if a car has brake failure, diagnostics, via a black box, can inform insurance adjusters and first responders on scene as to what caused an accident. 

All of this collectively contributes to improved public safety, by ensuring that first responders have access to critical information when they need it, while simultaneously enabling drivers who might otherwise be unaware to perform routine maintenance as needed. Safer cars that are well maintained can reduce accidents, while better data can help public safety understand how to help before, during, and after emergencies.

Smart cities, traffic planning, and cooperative driving

The combined effect of 5G-enabled sensors and diagnostics can power smart cities through efficient traffic management and planning. As adoption rates scale, enough data will presumably be available for civil engineers and traffic planners to plan more efficient routes, lights, and more. These data, from telematics, GPS, and diagnostics, can be automated by a central planning system to achieve an optimal flow of traffic. 

Cooperative driving, through device-to-device communication, allows connected vehicles to interact with each other as they drive, enabling faster and more optimized travel. 5G technology helps deliver this data from sensors across the internet of things for analysis and real-time adjustments, helping smart cities maintain optimal levels of performance. It expands the line of sight range for data sharing, while increasing the bandwidth with which data is transferred, and reducing latency over mobile networks. 

For cars, that means lowering pollution, idle time, and traffic, while maximizing efficiency. For public safety, that means fewer road accidents, quicker access to emergencies by road, and safer transportation.

Facilitating data sharing through 5G

5G has ample applications to public safety, many of which facilitate the sharing and interoperability of data for improved situational awareness. Applying this technology to the connected mobility space improves road safety for all. 

While inter-vehicle communication is enhanced by 5G networks, the issue of delivery remains: how can we as a society use these new channels of communication to share data with the appropriate parties and stakeholders, especially in emergencies? In the case of road safety, that means first responders and public safety officials.

Emergency response data platforms, like RapidSOS, help share connected vehicle data with first responders in a uniform way that fits into their workflows. It helps them access the critical information available to us through 5G automotive technology, to help protect and save lives. 
To learn more about the emergency response data platform, check out our website.