Centuries ago the idea of a motor vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by a combustion engine and with the capability to carry a small number of passengers, seemed like a fantasy to many or a joke for those seeking comic relief. Decades later, the idea was turned into a reality, but the mental prowess of man did not allow him to stop at that. Later on, trains and planes emerged shocking the world to its teeth while giving the non-believers a reason for faith. However, it seemed man was still not satisfied as he was looking for something unique, something extraordinary, and that’s probably when he thought, “What if cars could drive themselves?”
Alas, the idea of a vehicle that was capable of sensing its environment and moving with little or no human effort was put into theory. For decades now, driverless cars have been the billion-dollar idea when it comes to automobile technology. These self-driving cars combine a variety of sensors and advanced control system that step forward to interpret the sensory information to identify the right navigation paths as well as obstacles along the way. Scientists together with engineers have been working together to perfect this theory in reality by creating the safest and most efficient robot car for the future.
The progress so far
The enthusiasm that various countries have for cars is now rivaled by the eagerness to automate them. While European countries are investing a lot in new pilot projects for these robot cars, the US seems to be overtaking its competitors by providing the most number of self-driving cars than any other country globally.
The principal aim of autonomous vehicles would be to change life on the road. Safety always comes first, and since these cars are not to be subject to human error, it should be able to ensure road safety and reduce the casualties on the road accounted for by road accidents.
However, for a country to be considered prepared for self-driving cars, it needs to have aligned itself with these factors:
- Total government support and oversight
- Perfect highway infrastructure
- Large-scale innovation
- General customer acceptance
When it comes down to infrastructure, an excellent network system is ideal for the autonomous cars to send and receive the necessary signals that will help its functionality. This thus requires the availability of robust, fast and extensive network coverage.
How 5G Network could be the missing link to perfecting driverless cars
Four telecommunication companies in Japan have been the first to be allocated 5G network in the whole country. This marks yet another beginning to a remarkable era of fast and robust network coverage.
5G has surpassed all expectations as it can provide internet speeds and coverage that are 20 times the speed of 4G. This serves as an essential step forward for the concept of self-driving cars to be perfected as the cars using 5G will be made faster, smarter and most of all, safer.
The current 4G network might be enough to stream live HD videos but is very insufficient in supporting safer and smarter autonomous cars. It is simply not fast enough to be able to provide the vehicles with fast human-like reflexes needed.
Autonomous cars use thousands of sensors that generate an incredible amount of data. Handling, processing and analyzing this data requires a high-speed network, and thus the emergence of 5G could be the answer to all these prayers.
Perfecting the concept of self-driving cars could be a significant achievement in today’s constantly evolving technology. No one would have imagined a machine smart enough to take care of itself, and its owner on the road and this will undoubtedly leave a mark in the pages of history.