Communications and remote control by 5G complement and support autonomous driving

Automotive World 2019 presentations by NTT docomo, KDDI, & SoftBank



Self-driving cars with V2X networks (Source: SoftBank)

At the 11th Automotive World event held in January 2019, presentations were given by the three telecommunications providers NTT docomo, KDDI, and SoftBank during the technical session entitled "How Connected Cars Will Change with 5G". The three companies introduced the significance of the introduction of 5G and their schedules and plans being implemented for field testing activities in preparation for the introduction of 5G.

The 3GPP*, an international organization that promotes the standardization of 5G communication, has released standardized specifications in stages, and the 5G standard specifications have been established. Preliminary 5G services will be introduced in 2019 and commercial services will be introduced in 2020.

* 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project): Project to promote the standardization of wireless communication specifications.

This report covers the presentations given by each company, focusing on the role of how 5G complements and supports autonomous driving. 5G networks will make it possible to complement communications to recognize driving situations in areas that cannot be detected by on-board sensors alone (such as near vicinity and wide area information that cannot be detected by sensors due to obstacles).

Field testing of Level 4 autonomous driving vehicles equipped with 5G remote control systems are being conducted. (To conduct public road testing of unmanned Level 4 autonomous vehicles in Japan, vehicles are required to be equipped with a remote control system in accordance with the Criteria for Public Road Use Permission formulated by the National Police Agency.)

Also, Release 16 is a major release of the 3GPP project where the specifications for a full 5G V2X (NR-V2X) system will be finalized in December 2019. Compared to LTE V2X networks that are currently undergoing field trials, the system performance of 5G mobile networks will improve significantly making it possible to further complement and support the development of full-scale autonomous driving technologies. Compatible with smartphones, V2P (Vehicle to Pedestrian) communication networks will also be achievable.

In parallel, data distribution processing is being studied for the massive increase in the amount of data transfer that will be required in the future. Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), by deploying data processing functions at locations closer to terminals at the edge of the network, is a technology that realizes the optimization of communications and ultra-low latency, thereby making it possible to maximize the performance of 5G networks.

Improvement of connectivity by 5G improves the convenience of telematics. Furthermore, when fully autonomous capability is realized, the vehicle’s interior will become a personal space and the opportunities to utilize infotainment systems will increase, which will require 5G to provide high-speed, large data capacity network connections.

Related reports:
Implementation of 5G by Nissan, NTT DOCOMO, and AT&T (November 2018)