5G is changing business models and creating new ways of working. The speed and capacity of 5G have rekindled the industry’s imagination. And coupled with advancements in Industry 4.0 and IoT, automotive companies are embracing the benefits of 5G to gain efficiencies, remain competitive and plan for the future of connected and autonomous vehicles.
Today, millions of vehicles connect to cellular networks for real-time navigation, connected infotainment and emergency services. And the share of 5G-enabled cars actively connected to a 5G service continues to grow. But the ultra-high-speed data transfer and low latency provide benefits beyond connected vehicles. Automakers can leverage 5G to improve vehicle features, gain manufacturing efficiencies and launch new business models.
5G Improves Vehicle Features and Capabilities
5G cellular networks, with their increased throughput, reliability, availability and lower latency, will enable new features and capabilities like safety-sensitive additional applications – autonomous driving, Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle-to-Network (V2N), and Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) communications. These new features will benefit manufacturers and consumers by:
Making cars safer
For consumers, vehicle-to-everything (V2X), supported by 5G, will undoubtedly play an integral role in improving traffic efficiency and reducing collisions. For example, V2V communication allows vehicles to sense obstacles beyond the line of sight. Sharing information between cars or nearby pedestrians and infrastructure makes driving much safer. Accident avoidance will save lives and an estimated $500 billion in repairs due to collision avoidance. And fewer delays will help the workforce regain millions of once-wasted hours.
Making cars Smarter
While artificial intelligence (AI) is key to autonomous vehicles, so are communication and connectivity. 3G and 4G networks brought high-speed data to consumers. However, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication has become a priority and requires an enormous amount of bandwidth, which 5G supports. 5G delivers ultra-reliable connections, a high bit rate that enables the exchange of large volumes of 3D mapping data and sharing sensory data that improves situational awareness. Connected vehicles will help reduce congestion and “know” where parking spots are available. Together, these capabilities accelerate the path to vehicle autonomy.
5G Paired with Digital Twins Improves Vehicle Manufacturing
Manufacturing is already witnessing a surge in new operating models. With the help of 5G, a deluge of data will help propel manufacturing-as-a-service. Like the Oil & Gas industry, the use of 5G and digital twins in the automotive sector is already on its way to becoming an industry norm, having the most significant impact in these areas:
Digital twins promote better planning by simulating “what-if” scenarios, including workforce flow and resource needs. In addition, digital twins can advance health and safety protocols and improve workforce training. The use of digital twins has proven to be valuable in product testing, increasing manufacturing capacity and training employees on new equipment even before installation.
Digital twins monitor and process data in real-time, leading to faster improvements in production efficiency. Data generated by each plant asset provides insights into asset health, monitors operation parameters and identifies anomalies or malfunctions.
A highly beneficial use of digital twins is identifying and mitigating maintenance issues before they happen. Real-time data assists engineering and process teams by promoting collaboration to solve problems. The use of digital twins has been very beneficial in predicting when equipment maintenance is required.
New Business and Product Models Emerge with 5G Connectivity
There are still plenty of unknowns when it comes to envisioning the future of the automotive industry with 5G. For example, autonomous and software-defined cars challenge manufacturers and OEMs to focus more on rider experience. An increasing emphasis on in-vehicle “apps” and other forms of entertainment has emerged, all supported by a standardized 5G network. Downloading new features from a vehicle app store may become a new income stream.
5G will change vehicle servicing. Instead of lengthy service appointments, manufacturers could push out software via over-the-air (OTR) updates. A few automakers are already using this strategy.
5G will also advance the goal of advanced Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared Mobility (ACES) technologies. 5G, paired with AI, virtual reality (VR), and IoT, can make the self-driving vehicle a reality and change the face of transportation. Self-driving cars use hundreds of sensors to make vehicles faster and Smarter by relying heavily on data and the ability to share, transfer and analyze that data.
Combining New Technologies Will Change the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry is experiencing changes driven by digital transformation. Continued investments across the automotive industry indicate that the overriding ACES megatrends are here to stay. It is about striving for environment-friendly, integrated, automated, and personalized features on demand. With quicker response times and improved reliability, the entire value chain is shifting to safer and Smarter vehicles, advanced manufacturing, and emerging new business models. 5G is the gateway to a new world for businesses, but it requires multiple technologies to come together to achieve its true potential.