The prospect of seeing Google’s driverless cars may seem futuristic, but have appeared increasingly feasible with further advances in technology and 5G networks. Although initial concerns include safety, control and security, purported benefits once developed and optimised abound. Inherent benefits to society include reduced traffic congestion, diminished traffic accidents and fatalities, and a cutback in environmental emissions through more optimal fuel use. Swedish-based car maker Volvo has announced its partnership with technology company Ericsson and telecommunication carriers AT&T, to further evaluate growth opportunities with driverless cars. %g
Relying on 5G So as to maintain a multitude of driverless vehicles in roads and highways, 5G networks are needed to accommodate the data requirements of these users. 5G networks will be considerably superior to its predecessor, and need to be able to handle an array of uses from traffic navigation, entertainment and communication. While 3G networks supported an estimated latency of 35 milliseconds, this has been improved by 4G networks that maintain an estimated latency of 20 milliseconds. 5G networks need to be far more superior, so as to increase the safety and viability of driverless cars. Different data requirements such as watching television shows in the car through a wireless tablet, to making video calls will also serve to further increase the load on our wireless networks. Where coverage gaps and faulty connections typically translate to accidents and casualties, further technological breakthroughs are required before their viable commercial deployment. Although the practicality of driverless cars remains questionable, the rapid rate of technological advances is increasingly contributing to a varied range of possibilities, purely constrained by the limits of our imagination. Without question, having the necessary technological infrastructure can aid in supporting new technology be it driverless cars or automated drones. Similar to how advances in hardware have enabled further breakthrough in software developments, we need to better position ourselves for the future by investing in the requisite technological infrastructure.