The Battle Of 5G Versus Wi-Fi Based Technology In Internet Connected Cars
Nov 29, 2018

Korea, China, and Japan have been on the frontline of the development of the 5G network, referred to as the network of networks, what with Asia being a hotbed for innovation. However, as the dawn of the 5G network nighs, battle lines have been drawn between major automobile manufacturers on whether internet connected cars should use Wi-Fi-based DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) technology or the recently developed 5G C-V2X (cellular to vehicle to everything) technology. On one side of the battle line lies Toyota, Volkswagen, NXP and Renault and on the other Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Ericsson, Volvo, and Nissan.

Understanding The C-V2X Technology

The C-V2X started being developed by Huawei from China, Eriksson from Sweden and Nokia from Finland in 2016. It is the next generation of cellular wireless networks. Compared to its precedents, it is faster as it uses different frequency bands and has a larger bandwidth. The technology is set to debut in March 2019. This will be the first release phase with a second phase coming a year later in March 2020. Late last year, the technology was tried in Shanghai by Ford and Datang. It was then tried in South Korea early this year during the 2018 Winter Olympics. On April 26th, Ford, BMW, Groupe PSA, and BMW e-scooters were fitted with C-V2X chipsets from Qualcomm and tested in Washington. Another trial was conducted in Ingolstadt Germany featuring Qualcomm Technologies, Audi Q7, Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro motorbike and the A4. During the IoT Expo held in Wuxi, China just two months ago, a demonstration featuring the 5G technology was also conducted. It is important to note that out of the 6 pre-standard 5G tests conducted so far, Asia has been a major player having hosted 4 of the 6, all of which proved promising.

The Advantages of 5G

The battle between automakers when it comes to the use of 5G and DSRC is certainly justified. The argument presented by the likes of Toyota was the DSRC model created in the 2000s is a working and proven system, so why fix something that isn't broken? However, the 5G Automotive Association also have a point. Automated, efficient, safe and smooth driving are a drop in the ocean when it comes to the perks 5G connected cars have to offer. Getting reliable vehicle insurance, following the rules, avoiding distractions, driving at reasonable speeds and using technology that is already available has helped make driving a more pleasant experience and ensures safety on the road. But additionally, the benefits the C-V2X brings to the table simply cannot be overlooked.

The technology, unlike the DSRC which is short range, enables vehicles which are far apart to communicate. You can know if a vehicle out of your site has turned, switched lanes or stopped. In case there is imminent danger, say an across traffic turn collision risk, or an intersection collision risk, the chipsets relays a warning which depicts itself as a pop-up alert on your dashboard or windshield. Also displayed are various data such as the weather, accidents along your route, obstacles on the road and current traffic light signals. If there is a vulnerable road user, a slow-moving car, or a stationary car along your lane, you will get a warning. Foggy or bad weather has nothing on cars fitted with the C-V2X technology.

The advantages the C-V2X technology has to offer should be reason enough to convince most if not all automakers to embrace it. Its ability to communicate with traffic lights, other vehicles and pedestrians as well is nothing short of impressive. Additionally, not only will it make roads safer, the development of the tech will create employment for millions of people; 8 million jobs in China alone to be specific, according to SDX Central. Increased revenue, efficient driving, reduced road accidents, and hundreds of job opportunities all explain why the world cannot wait for the launch of 5G.