Technology major Continental has
started a joint research and development collaboration to realise 5G vehicle
communications with the Japanese telecommunications company NTT Docomo, Inc. to
enhance connected infotainment functions and build the foundation for cellular
based vehicle-to-everything (V2X) wireless communications systems.
During the concurrent shows
Automotive Engineering Exposition 2017 in Yokohama and the Wireless Japan Expo,
the two companies are demonstrating a prototype application of the emerging 5G
mobile communications technology. This oncoming high-performance wireless
communication technology is currently being specified and is in its early
stages. It is designed to enable a step-change in the speed of wireless data
transmission, transmission quality and speed of response (latency time). NTT Docomo
is among the world-wide leaders in developing and specifying the 5G standard.
Continental takes an active role in defining what is needed to use 5G for
future automotive use cases and has already started basic research.
“With 5G we are ahead of the
game”, said Johann Hiebl, head of Continental’s Business Unit Infotainment
& Connectivity. “Connecting vehicles is at the top of our agenda but to
fully exploit the benefits of the connected vehicle we need the bandwidth,
speed and fast response times of tomorrow’s cellular networks,” Hiebl added.
“By combining Continental’s more than 20 years
of automotive connectivity know-how with NTT DOCOMO’s leading 5G expertise, we
will be ready to reap the benefits of the new technology once it is fully
available from around 2022”, said Hiebl.
Making the 5G
cellular potential visible
Practically all major
automotive trends involve connectivity: greater driving safety is not only
based upon sensor networks in the car and networked sensor signal
interpretation but also on additional information from outside the car.
Improving the efficiency of driving will increasingly require predictive
driving strategies which factor in data from a backend via the cloud and from
other vehicles. Automated driving as an important step towards accident-free
driving (vision zero) is hardly conceivable without the electronic horizon
(eHorizon) which integrates digital map data with sensor data for up-to-date
maps and real-time traffic information.
“The latest available data is
the fuel of connected vehicles”, said Robert Gee, Head of Product Management,
Software & Connected Solutions and Telematics Systems Engineering Manager,
Japan at Continental. “As vehicles gain an equal footing in the Internet of
Everything, data traffic will expand dramatically. Current cellular standards
are not prepared for this. 5G, however, is,” Gee noted. The 5G technology targets to
provide up to a million connections per square kilometre, allowing for many
more devices than 4G.
“The new cellular standard 5G will be able to
connect vehicles with other road users and the infrastructure in ways beyond
your imagination”, Gee said. With a targeted 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) for
downlink speeds and drastically reduced latency times which may be as low as 1
millisecond (1 msec) in a wireless link, exciting new use cases and services
are becoming within reach. Among these are high density platooning, HD (high
definition) live map updates, and sensor sharing.
A key potential of 5G cellular
lies in its low latency times. This speed of response can be used for V2X
communication. Once latency times are significantly reduced, wireless
communication between cars, with the infrastructure and with other road users
can improve the data basis for driver assistance and automated driving.
“To make all this possible we need to look
into frequency and data propagation details now”, Gee said, adding that “That
is why our current roadmap includes research into antenna and questions such as
which frequencies are most suitable for moving vehicles.”