The commercial rollout of 5G for consumers is in full swing. However, the new generation of cellular connectivity will also have a transformative effect on roadways worldwide, according to ABI Research. By 2023 cars will start to communicate with each other to increase overall road safety and traffic.
The ABI Research’s 5G in Automotive and Smart Transportation application analysis report forecasts that of 41 million 5G connected cars will already be on roads by 2030. That number will rise to 83 million 5G connected cars by 2035. By then, 5G connected cars will make up more than 75% of the total C-V2X equipped cars.
Leo Gergs, a research analyst for 5G Markets at ABI Research, says the numbers underline the huge momentum for cellular connectivity, and particularly 5G, in the automotive sector.
“As a consequence, we will see a rising number of automotive OEMs start developing C-V2X modules for their cars during 2020. We can then expect the first 5G connected cars on the roads in 2022,” he added.
Global auto brands like Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen are partnering with communication brands like Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia to commence large-scale trial projects to test the capabilities of cellular technology for connected car use cases.
The results of these proof-of-concept projects are auspicious and show that, through enhancing traffic efficiency, 5G can reduce fuel consumption by up to one third. Ford has already announced new car models equipped with C-V2X for 2021.
“More importantly, however, the sharing of sensor data will make overtaking much safer and will be critical to protecting vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians or cyclists). Therefore, bringing 5G-based cellular connectivity into cars will be critical in making the vision of zero road traffic deaths a reality,” emphasized Gergs.
ABI Research has quantified the contribution of 5G to global GDP to reach US$17 trillion by 2035. A large part of that global GDP will be through increasing the safety of road traffic, which will reduce health care expenditure drastically and take the pressure off doctors and hospitals.
“To unlock all these benefits, public authorities and transportation infrastructure owners need to realize their responsibility to fund the installation of cellular networks and enable the widespread deployment of C-V2X to make road traffic safer and greener,” Gergs concluded.
“Recent developments around the FCC’s decision to open up the 5.9 GHz frequency for C-V2X technology is a first step in the right direction. Now, other regulators need to follow. Furthermore, both infrastructure vendors and network operators need to wake up and work closely with automotive manufacturers to make 5G a success for connected cars.”