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March 12, 2020

5G seen ‘shifting C-V2X into high gear’

With the global commercial rollout of 5G for consumers now in full swing, the new generation of cellular connectivity will also have a transformative effect on roadways, a research company said.

By Olly Wehring

With the global commercial rollout of 5G for consumers now in full swing, the new generation of cellular connectivity will also have a transformative effect on roadways, a research company said.

From 2023, cars will start to communicate routinely with each other to increase overall road safety and traffic. According to data published by ABI Research, 41m 5G connected cars will already be on roads by 2030. That will rise to 83m 5G connected cars by 2035. By then, 5G connected cars will make up more than 75% of the total C-V2X equipped cars.

"These numbers underline the huge momentum for cellular connectivity, and particularly 5G, in the automotive sector," said ABI.

"As a consequence, we will see a rising number of automotive OEMs start developing C-V2X modules for their cars during 2020. We can then expect the first 5G connected cars on the roads in 2022."

Ford already announced new car models equipped with C-V2X for 2021 while others, including Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen have all partnered up with the likes of Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia to commence large scale trial projects to test the capabilities of cellular technology for connected car use cases.

The results of these proof of concept projects are auspicious and show that, through enhancing traffic efficiency, 5G can reduce fuel consumption by up to one third.

"More importantly, however, the sharing of sensor data will make overtaking much safer and will be critical to protecting vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians or cyclists). Therefore, bringing 5G-based cellular connectivity into cars will be critical in making the vision of zero road traffic deaths a reality," ABI said.

It reckons the contribution of 5G to global GDP will reach US$17 trillion by 2035. A large part of that global GDP will be through increasing the safety of road traffic, which will reduce health care expenditure drastically and take pressure off doctors and hospitals.

"To unlock all these benefits, public authorities and transportation infrastructure owners need to realise their responsibility to fund the installation of cellular networks and enable the widespread deployment of C-V2X to make road traffic safer and greener," ABI said.

"Recent developments around the [US Federal Communications Commission] FCC decision to open up the 5.9GHz frequency for C-V2X technology is a first step in the right direction.

"Now, other regulators need to follow. Furthermore, both infrastructure vendors and network operators need to wake up and work closely with automotive manufacturers to make 5G a success for connected cars."

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