5G expert Phil Cottom on the link between connectivity and driverless tech

Last updated: 09-28-2020

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5G expert Phil Cottom on the link between connectivity and driverless tech

Nokiais one of the leading suppliers of equipment and services for building mobile networks worldwide and is at the forefront of developing 5G technology. We work with the majority of mobile providers worldwide.

5G has characteristics such as low latency, and in later releases, ultra-low latency which means data can be transferred with minimal delay, effectively in real-time. It also has higher reliability, increased bandwidth, resulting in faster data transfer, and improved predictability that make new use cases commercially and technically viable. It is a key enabling technology for thefourth industrial revolution,or Industry 4.0, which will include the ability for autonomous control of vehicles.  

The vast majority of traffic incidents are driver related and so full autonomous control of the journey will increase the safety for the passengers and pedestrians. It will also increase traffic efficiency and therefore reduce CO2 emissions, all with onboard immersive infotainment.

The same characteristics that ‘drive’ automation on highways will also drive process efficiency via fully automated operations, allowing manufacturers to ditch the wired constraints and go wireless. This allows an increase in flexibility in response to customer orders, a reduction in human error and an overall improvement in consistency, quality and predictability of output. Entire production lines will be reconfigurable to set up for a new production run within hours rather than days, weeks or not at all, as is the case right now.

There are1.25 million fatalities each yearon the world’s highways. Understandably, many are looking to automated driving technologies enabled by 4.9GLTE/5G to reduce accident rates due to human error. Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) will use vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications to improve traffic flow using techniques such as Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control. V2X communications will be used for advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) which will contribute to an overall improvement in safety.

5G is only really starting to be rolled out from 2020 and the rate of the deployment will be down to each mobile operator. Private 5G networks using Nokia’s 5G Standalone (5GSA)Digital Automation Cloud Platformare now available. This will enable Industry 4.0 to deploy their own private 5G network to provide a standalone, highly secure, highly reliable, low latency and high bandwidth network either in combination with a mobile operator or using local shared spectrum where this is available. In the UK, for example,the local regulator has enabled a very large amount of 5G spectrum to be licensed by Enterprise customers at just £80 per year for 10Mhz, with 400Mhz available.

Whether you want or need a 5G phone will depend on what applications you intend to use and which characteristic of 5G you need. Many use cases can be easily satisfied using existing data rates and response times provided by the 4.9G/LTE being deployed today. 5G uptake will be driven largely by industry and those requiring high capacity to the handset – gamers on the move, for example.

High quality video calls will be very important to Industry 4.0. A current example is a trial we are carrying out withLufthansa Technikto improve the collaboration with their Aero engine customers significantly.

As part of the process, a table inspection takes place several times during an engine overhaul event, requiring the end customer representative to attend site to inspect the work. As most of their customers are located all over the world, they are trialling so-called ‘virtual table inspections’ to avoid time-consuming business trips – especially in these times. Using a high definition wireless camera, they can show customers their assets conveniently at their office desk.


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