Safer driving begins with driver assistance and reliable connectivity
Edvard Brinck, Director of Portfolio Development Automotive/IoT for Ericsson, talks about the importance of connectivity for safer driver assistance and automated driving functions.
As the industry continues to unveil new driver-assist features—assisted parallel parking, intersection collision warning, lane change assistance, and emergency braking—the possibilities seem endless for building a safer car of the future and reducing the 1.6 million automobile-related deaths each year. Leading the many innovations in automotive technology are advanced driver assistance systems (ADASs) and autonomous driving (AD) technologies, which already demonstrate clear benefits, from reducing collisions to improving driver safety on the road.
For AD/ADAS to continue growing, there not only needs to be an incremental approach to reducing human interaction, but also in building customer trust in the vehicle and the systems supporting it. Building this trust will rely heavily on effective communication between the many moving parts, including vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) information sharing. Connectivity—including the rollout of 5G networks—will be critical to unlocking ADAS and V2X services, as well as sophisticated planning, rollout, and automation of AI and machine learning at the cloud network edge.
Start your sensors
Enabling a vehicle to become “smart” related to its surroundings requires a lot of collaborating technologies. It starts with the sensors, including cameras, radar, and LiDAR (light detection and ranging)—all detecting objects, other vehicles, and road conditions. The sensors send data to the cloud edge network for analysis and how the vehicle should react is sent back—all within a fraction of a second. Any longer than that could result in an accident.
Without a robust technology platform capable of facilitating the collection, transmission, processing, and return of the data—in an instant, features such as forward collision warning systems, adaptive cruise control, and other technology cannot work to their full and safe potential. This cooperation endeavors to build trust in the sensors, connectivity, and cloud that are needed to move ADAS and highly automated driving closer to becoming fully autonomous.
At the heart of all these advancements is connectivity, which will be the key enabler in this automotive movement. Connected vehicles collect and process a lot of data, supported by existing 4G and LTE technology. Each ADAS-enabled vehicle today already produces 20 GB of data per day, and this amount is expected to increase to 50 GB per day by 2023. However, these data amounts pale in comparison to four terabytes of data per hour (https://nyti.ms/2L4vm42) experts agree self-driving cars will generate, reliant upon 5G networks for transport, with no latency.
Needless to say, that is a staggering amount, but why so large? For the highest levels of safety, self-driving systems must monitor the surrounding environment, constantly. But it doesn’t stop there. Newer sensors are also monitoring the driver’s facial expressions, sentiment, and behavior, which can inform future driving prompts and assistance, including ADAS taking over for roadwork or closure avoidance, distracted driving, and other make-or-break moments of a drive.
From ADAS to AD
As communications service providers (CSPs) continue to make greater connectivity—5G—available, drivers and vehicle manufacturers will have an assortment of new capabilities at the ready for a more sophisticated, safer driving experience as the amount of data shared with the surrounding infrastructure increases. To keep building trust, the automotive industry must ensure that reliable connectivity is available. With ADAS and AD establishing more connections, the network will need to ingest and analyze data at unprecedented levels. To handle the massive growth in connected vehicle data traffic, the industry will need to rely on secure platforms for V2V and V2X communication to ensure safety and efficiency. V2V communications will prove particularly important; by enabling vehicles to communicate with each other, gaps in cellular service areas can be overcome.
Connectivity will be vital to creating the successful rollout of new safety features and services and will help gain passenger trust in an incremental manner, which is likely to be more successful than expecting a driver to just be ready to take their hands off the wheel. They will need to see consistently reliable ADAS in action before they decide to completely trust their lives to a machine. But once gained, it will be connectivity—the lifeblood of ADAS and AD—that will maintain their trust and make vehicle safer and autonomous vehicles a success.