The Seoul Metropolitan Government is holding an autonomous driving technology festival where self-driving cars will operate using 5G networks.
The demonstration of 5G and autonomous vehicles will take place in late June of this year with a total of 17 companies and institutions participating in the event including SK Telecom, KT, Samsung Electronics and Unmanned Solution.
During the test, seven 5G self-driving vehicles, including four buses and three passenger cars, will run a 1.1 kilometer long route in the Sangam district connected via a 5G telecommunications network to road facilities for various emergency services. The government of Seoul will also open an autonomous driving test bed in Sangam in July to allow for future transportation companies to use the equipment and facilities for testing moving forward.
Autonomous driving is reportedly one of the long-term applications that will be able to take advantage of the high speed and low latency that 5G affords. 5G is the next-generation wireless technology that promises speeds up to 10 times that of current LTE 4G technology and latency that will enable vehicles to communicate with each other and other connected devices in milliseconds.
The idea is that self-driving cars could, through built-in sensors and other technology, talk not only with one another in real-time but also with connected streets and traffic lights. This way, real-time information on weather conditions, road traffic and accidents and potential alternative routes could be shared to increase safety and efficiency on the roadways. This is especially helpful when it comes to mass transit systems where communication is a must for services to run smoothly and efficiently. This test will also be featured on buses in order to proliferate the mass transit option with 5G connectivity.
Another potential application for 5G and connected, self-driving cars would be adding new in-vehicle entertainment options such as streaming and downloading full-length movies, streaming multiplayer games or taking an augmented reality tour of an area in near-real time.
Efforts by the Korean government to use 5G to not just improve the transit system but to also improve the way emergency services operate echo similar moves by Verizon. The wireless company looks to improve emergency services through its 5G First Responder Lab, established as an incubator to develop new methods for firefighters, EMS and police.