5G could improve safety of self-driving cars

The deployment of 5G networks, which could be as much as 10 times more efficient than 4G networks, has the potential to significantly improve the safety of self-driving cars, according to market research firm Gartner.

The reliability and low latency that 5G networks promise could lead to safe execution of human-led remote control of autonomous vehicles, said Jonathan Davenport, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.

“AVs periodically face a set of conditions they cannot immediately navigate, which results in the need for a vehicle-human hand over,” explained Davenport.

“This hand over deactivates the autonomous mode and hands over control to a human driver — but such a hand over is not always possible. One potential solution for these scenarios where a hand over to the human driver fails is to use remote pilots,” he added.

“Human pilots can be the recipient of a planned remote hand over or help recover an AV that has become stuck,” Davenport added.

Once initiated, the technology would allow human technicians in remote facilities to assess live video feeds and vehicle diagnostics from the AV, and take over driving control virtually.

With the new level of network capability that 5G could provide, communications service providers (CSPs) can secure future market opportunities with manufacturers of AVs in the fields of driver safety and data processing and management, Gartner said.