Ubiquitous 5G telecommunication services open up particular opportunities for the automotive industry. With the integration of on board systems to sense the car’s surrounding highly assisted driving became possible. For further development towards autonomous drive an interaction between vehicles, the traffic infrastructure and other mobile participants is required. HAPS with their immersive data connection and its ultra-low latency can become a key enabling technology to boost connected mobility and its benefits for our society.
Automobiles promise unlimited personal mobility. Everyone can travel to the place of his dreams. Self-determination always meant being able to steer the vehicle oneself and having an almost unlimited range due to the availability of fuel. The safety of the vehicles was constantly improved for the passengers. More efficient engines and exhaust gas purification have reduced the harmful effects on the environment. Nevertheless, the automotive industry today faces major challenges. Electric drives are replacing fossil fuels. Assistance systems support the driver during the journey and increase the safety of the occupants, as well as that of all other road users.
Passengers also expect communication technologies to be constantly available, such as telephony and data transmission for navigation, news and social media. The automobile is becoming an intelligent node in the global data network. Its sensors record the immediate environment while driving. While today’s assistance systems already help to avoid accidents, in the future complete and geographically unrestricted integration into the communications network could open up a multitude of further possibilities.
The 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G PPP) is a joint initiative between the European Commission and European ICT industry (ICT manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, SMEs and researcher Institutions). It’s White Paper on 5G PPP Automotive Vision from 2015 provides first insights into the deployment models for 5G Vehicle to Anything (V2X). The possibilities are endless: Cars communicate with other vehicles, other vulnerable road users, local traffic regulating infrastructure and even drones within an 5G immersive high-speed real time data network. The actual position of all stakeholders and their motion vector is known to the system and can become the backbone of highly assisted driving, boosting safety and efficiency of today’s mobility solutions to currently unimaginable new standards.
We are used to experience outages of mobile phone coverage outside of towns and major streets. For connected mobility, data rates and latency, for the responsiveness of the system and the need to fulfill standards, 5G is promising. As of today, 5G coverage is still limited to specific areas. Even the range of Sub-6 GHz 5G will not allow for a ubiquitous area-wide coverage.
Highly assisted or even autonomous driving is currently blocked by the nationwide unavailability of ubiquitous 5G coverage. The real time integration of the car into the global data network is currently limited due to the available network. Demonstration projects enable local 5G coverage along specific motorways like the A39 near Wolfsburg or the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg in Germany.
Satellite internet services cannot cope with the required data capacities and ultra-low latency for the people participating in mobility.
HAPS provide coverage for vast areas. Bavaria in Germany could be covered from just nine HAPS, providing immersive ubiquitous 5G services to people and vehicles, helping to enable tomorrow’s communication network for connected mobility, safe drive and full integration into the global data network.
This is a truly added value to the traditional car business of automotive manufacturers, helping them to connect our dream of flexible unlimited mobility with highly improved safety and ubiquitous communication.