What impact could 5G – the new high-speed mobile technology being trialled around the world – have on the way we work and play?
Swedish transport company Scania believes lorries could use far less fuel if they drove much closer together, controlled by wirelessly communicating onboard computers.
But to prevent these “platooning” lorries crashing into each other, you’d better be sure your communications are fast and reliable. So Scania is working with Ericsson on trials of the new 5G (fifth generation) wireless broadband technology, due to be rolled out globally in 2020.
It promises much faster data transfer speeds, greater coverage and more efficient use of the spectrum bandwidth.
“Platooning works very well with wi-fi, but in dense traffic situations with many vehicles communicating, 5G is designed to offer more reliable communication,” says Andreas Hoglund, Scania’s senior engineer for intelligent transport systems. This is because 5G direct communication is designed to handle fast moving objects and congestion more efficiently, he says.
“Faster communication will make it possible to reduce the distance between vehicles in the platoon, which might further reduce the air drag and give positive effects on fuel consumption,” he explains.
This could help create “a more efficient, greener” world.
5G is designed to accommodate the growing number of devices reliant on a mobile internet connection – from fridges to cars – and is 10 times faster than the highest speed 4G can manage.
“It will enable a lot of applications which were unthinkable before,” says Mischa Dohler, professor in wireless communications at King’s College London.
South Korea has plans to implement 5G for the Winter Olympics in February 2018, giving visitors access to virtual reality (VR) content on their mobiles.