Luca De Meo, the president of SEAT, a Spanish automobile manufacturer, said that innovating the current model of smart cars to 5G technology would pave the way to autonomous driving at a conference in Barcelona last Monday.
5G provides current smart cars the technology of giving vehicles up-to-date information on road conditions and other relevant data in a timely fashion.
“We need to experiment and look at functionalities and hopefully the market will say, ‘OK, I want to buy a car like this because it can prevent an accident or it can see around the corner and I value that and I [will] pay for it,’” De Meo said.
He said connecting a car with a passenger’s mobile phone, external infrastructure or retailers, could lead to billions of possible transactions.
De Meo told Reuters, “I think [personally] the automotive industry will play a big role in justifying the investment, so [that] we will be one of the big customers, but we need to be creative.” He also noted that the market is expected to be worth as much as $95 billion in 2020.
5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment, your 4G LTE connection. With 5G, you’ll see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease according to Digital Trends.
Basically, 5G will be able to connect various devices from a single base station, which is a more practical and cost-effective solution to the depleting resources available in the current 4G LTE connection.
While in the convention, SEAT unveiled its new concept car, the Minimó, a 100% electric vehicle that has built-in 5G technology that will enable the vehicle to communicate wirelessly with other vehicles and city/urban infrastructure, as “a first step towards achieving cooperative, autonomous driving.”
The Minimó is a hyperconnected vehicle that provides a convenient and smooth digital user experience based on the “Digital Access” key and wireless Android Auto on the car display without users having to connect their smartphone to any cable or socket,” said Meo.
In addition, with the Google Assistant on Android Auto, users can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while using their voice to stay connected, easily get answers, manage tasks and control media.”
The Minimó is currently undergoing testing on the streets of Barcelona, in partnership with Telefónica. Seat says that further development of the concept will be undertaken with input from city councils and potential users, to help shape the direction and focus of the project.