5G will see slow rollout to cars
SEOUL — Superfast 5G cellular networks are seen as paving the way to truly autonomous driving, but the technology is still about 10 years away, Hyundai’s auto intelligence chief said.
Hwang Seung Ho, executive vice president for Hyundai Motor Group’s Auto Intelligence Division, expects 5G to emerge in the mobile phone industry before migrating to cars.
The technology could arrive for mobile phones within as few as four years, he reckoned. But it will require lengthy validation in cars, pushing back adoption 10 years or so, he said.
“From now, the earliest is about 10 years,” Hwang told Automotive News at the Seoul Motor Show. He oversees connected-car development for the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands.
Hwang: 5G will be a “stronger competitor.”
Analysts agree that 5G holds great promise for self-driving cars as a successor to today’s 4G cellular service. It is much faster than 4G, meaning more instantaneous response, for example, to obstacles in a car’s way. While the fastest 4G networks take tens of milliseconds to send a signal and receive a response, 5G can send and receive in less than a millisecond, Hwang said.
A short latency time, as the send-receive round trip is called, is crucial for cars at high speed. A car traveling around 60 mph with 5G connectivity would travel just a few centimeters before it gets feedback, enough time to brake or steer out of the way in an emergency, Hwang said. That can’t happen with 4G connectivity.
Today’s self-driving cars often rely on a mix of 4G networking and vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity. The latter systems usually rely on a system called dedicated short-range communications, or DSRC. While DSRC is much faster than 4G, its use is limited because the technology works only in areas where there are other DSRC radios installed. Vehicles need nearby vehicles and nearby infrastructure outfitted with the same gear.
5G connectivity would have the same wider range of today’s 4G network, being able to connect with anything anywhere within cellular range. But that still can leave the car blind in out-of-network areas such as underground parking lots, valleys or remote areas.
“But these days, the cellular network covers almost everywhere,” Hwang said. “So as the vehicle-to-infrastructure network is being pushed out, the 5G is coming as a stronger competitor.”