"Autonomous cars do not need 5G," respected Professor Gerhard Fettweis told us in the spring. Karl-Heinz Laudan of Deutsche Telecom agrees. "Automotive does not need mmWaves. I can now add an informed source, Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle Platform and Product. "These vehicles will be fully capable of operating without C-V2X." That's of course true. Otherwise, the cars would shut down when out of range of a cell site.

Connected cars - as opposed to autonomous cars - will be a major business. Ford is putting 4G in every car in 2018. AT&T estimates it has 27 million cars on the network today, although few have a second connection. That's mostly for entertainment today, but literally dozens of Waze-like information are coming to market. Butler predicts, "Road signs could provide advance warning of recent accidents or provide more context regarding road construction."

Dan Warren, now at Samsung, was the first to explain to me why cars couldn't be completely dependent on phone networks. "Will they freeze when they hit a deadspot? Of course not." 

 

 How ‘Talking’ and ‘Listening’ Vehicles Could Make Roads Safer, Cities Better

By Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle Platform and Product

C-V2X is a wireless communication technology that can “talk” to and “listen” for similarly equipped vehicles, people and traffic management infrastructure such as traffic lights to relay important information and help make city mobility safer and less congested. Planned alongside the rapidly building 5G cellular network, C-V2X enables direct communication between the connected devices, meaning a signal doesn’t need to first travel to a cellular tower, allowing vehicles to quickly send and receive information. Ultimately, it lets drivers know what’s ahead of them even before they have to encounter it.

... Communicating with infrastructure such as stoplights and road signs, meanwhile, means cities have even easier ways of making sure drivers get the information they need to move more freely and safely. With C-V2X, a traffic light can send signals alerting drivers about when it will turn green or red, or whether a driver is at risk of running a red light.

Road signs could provide advance warning of recent accidents or provide more context regarding road construction, giving drivers the opportunity to reroute or more safely move through work zones. Further out, cities could even use this technology to enable smart vehicles to “talk” to smart traffic management systems to create better flowing transportation systems.

Our move to deploy this technology builds on our prior commitment to equip every model we release in the United States with conventional cellular connectivity by the end of 2019.

C-V2X will enable vehicles to receive updates about potential traffic developments and risks that are beyond the range of what sensors can pick up, provide warnings or could even be tuned to activate Ford Co-Pilot360’s automatic emergency braking system to brake for drivers if they do not respond.

While these vehicles will be fully capable of operating without C-V2X, the technology could add to its comprehensive view from the LiDAR, radar and camera sensors. For instance, if emergency vehicles were equipped with C-V2X transmitters, they could notify self-driving vehicles that may be on their route so the vehicles pull over or reroute in plenty of time. Self-driving vehicles could even get real-time updates on road conditions that affect their routes.

 

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network. It will soon offer a gigabit or close to 30M homes. Thousands of sites are live in Korea; AT&T is going live with mobile, even lacking phones. The hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.

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5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.