Much of the hype around 5G technologies has been focused on smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and the disruption these models in adjacent industries such as energy, distribution, and insurance. 5G, or the fifth generation of cellular data technology, is a collection of technologies that form a specific technology standard to which devices connect to for internet access. So far, 5G’s customer value proposition has been faster speeds, and the expansion of 5G has already re-shaped car driver experiences. Millions of vehicles across the globe are connected to mobile networks, whether that’s for in-car entertainment, navigation in real time or e-commerce services. The automotive world is heading towards V2X (vehicle-to-everything) and the immediate transmission of data between cars, humans, and machines.
Within this super connected realm of free-flowing data, automation is one of the core focus areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) being developed by car manufacturers. Autonomous transport trucks will begin to come online by 2023 or 2024. This sets the stage for automation of personal transportation vehicles, which is not far behind. But with wide-ranging manufacturing, regulatory, and consumer changes required before automation can be adopted, these changes will likely not occur as a big bang but more as an evolution. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers will have opportunities to create new experiences, platforms, and revenue streams to meet changing customer expectations.
In the immediate future, new passenger experiences will enable OEMs to differentiate themselves in partnership with telecom and media providers. The car may become a new entertainment device – children in the backseat will be able to start watching a movie at home and then switch to watching it in the car. Electric vehicle (EV) drivers waiting for a recharge will want to use their vehicle for work-related activities such as video conferencing. Cameras within the vehicle, combined with AI algorithms running in the mobile edge, will be able to detect distracted drivers and enable safety measures. Natural language processing capabilities will further reduce the swiping and typing needed to interact with onboard systems. Advances in flexible microchip printing and the use of 5G signals to deliver power mean that onboard sensors can provide exponentially more data in real time. Cameras will be able to report traffic, road, and weather conditions to the cloud, with more data points than Apple or Google have today. Performance data from just about every critical component could be measures, allowing for proactive service. Over-the-air (OTA) system updates could be pushed daily, if needed.