Implementation of 5G by Nissan, NTT DOCOMO, and AT&T

Supporting connected cars and autonomous driving - report from TU Automotive Japan 2018



5G Impact (Source: Nissan)

 The TU Automotive Japan 2018 show was held October 16 to 17, 2018. This report covers the lectures related to automotive applications of fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications systems based on announcements by Nissan, NTT DOCOMO, and AT&T.

 5G communications is expected to be 100 times faster than LTE, transmit larger amounts of data, have ultra-low latency, and realize multiple simultaneous connections. These key features will contribute greatly to the realization of connected cars, which various automakers are currently introducing to market. As for autonomous driving, 5G communication will allow for the efficient transmission of 3D maps and probe information to vehicles. Furthermore, through vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication systems, 5G communication can realize Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), which can receive information in locations where on-board sensors do not have reception.

 The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is currently standardizing the specs. Specs for cellular V2X, which can be applied to vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) systems, were decided in March 2017, when six companies( including Nissan), NTT DOCOMO (using vehicles from Toyota and the Nissan GT-R), and AT&T (using Ford vehicles) conducted verification testing for cellular V2X.

 5G is planned to eventually use the wireless format known as New Radio (NR). However, regions such as Japan, the U.S., Europe, and Korea plan to implement NR using existing 4G LTE facilities (known as Non-Standalone: NSA). AT&T will be the first in the world to provide NR services using the NSA format in 12 American cities by the end of 2018.

 NTT DOCOMO will also begin commercial 5G services in 2020. However, it will first be implemented in major urban areas and key regions and facilities, then sequentially gradually expanded to other areas. As with the introduction of all new technologies, it expects to see limited use in the initial stages. Three lecturers did not state when they would begin 5G services for automotive applications.

 Regarding V2X, the system uses dedicated short-range communication (DSRC), has been researched for several years now, and is currently making progress. Toyota, GM, and VW have either already announced realization of the system or adoption of the system in the near future. Honda has conducted a demonstration of safety systems using DSRC in the U.S.

 Additionally, some reports speculate that 5G and DSRC will coexist.


Related reports:
Nissan: Connected strategy in the age of autonomous cars (January 2018)

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