5G Connectivity Coming to Cars in a Big Way
The ramp-up of 5G connectivity is going to be fast and massive.
Carmakers and suppliers are beginning to develop applications this year with plans to launch the first batch of 5G-based systems in 2022, according to a new study by ABI Research. From there, the London-based firm predicts breakneck growth:
- 41 million 5G connected vehicles by 2030
- 83 million by 2035
- $17 trillion in global GDP contribution by 2035
FCC Approval of 5G for C-V2X
Deployments will be fueled in large part by the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to advance a proposal to open part of the 5.9 GHz band to be used by cellular-vehicle-to-everything applications (C-V2X).
The spectrum previously had been reserved for the rival DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) protocol. About 20 years ago, the FCC set aside 75 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for safety related vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies. But the auto industry is just now starting to develop such systems, which previously were cost prohibitive due to the amount of computing power required.
Under the new proposal, the upper band would be allocated for C-V2X. The FCC is seeking comment on whether the rest would be used for DSRC.
ABI expects 5G will account for more than 75% of C-V2X equipped vehicles.
High-speed 5G networks allow for real-time sharing of traffic information and precise location detection. They also can transmit much more data than current 4G LTE systems, and with one-tenth the latency.
Such systems can help enable automated vehicle functionality, the streaming of in-vehicle videos and other data, improved safety and as much as a one-third reduction in fuel consumption due to improved traffic coordination.
ABI says safety and traffic benefits should start by 2023 as vehicles begin to communicate with each other. Ford has committed to equip all of its vehicles in the U.S. with C-V2X by then. BMW and Volkswagen Group also are starting pilot programs to test the technology.
Honda Motor Co. is launching a “SmartCharge” pilot program that allows customers to coordinate charging times for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid for non-peak grid times.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has become an affiliate member of the University of Michigan’s Mcity research campus, where the company plans to test tires on autonomous and electric vehicles.
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. and Ricardo plc are part of a British consortium that is developing connected vehicle technologies aimed at improving safety.