The impact of 5G on transport promises to be a real revolution. The new mobile networks already help some “smart cities” to manage traffic, public transport systems and the emission of polluting gases. Existing technologies, such as autonomous vehicles or geolocation, are now gaining new speed with the ultra-connectivity, reliability and low latency of 5G.
Another day in Luanda. The director of a company has a meeting from 9 am to 11 am in the Marginal. After leaving the boss, the driver Mr. José parks the car where he can, turns on the radio, the air conditioning for a few minutes (no one can stand this heat!) And begins a long wait of two hours. However, right next door, at Mutamba, the accountant for that same company has just left a business meeting. He doesn't know that Mr. José is in a corporate vehicle a few meters away, half awake and half asleep. He then gets into another car at the firm that the secretary has booked just for him and returns to the office in full swing.
Two cars and two drivers in a shuttle and uncoordinated and meaningless naps - the underutilization of resources is obvious. Examples like this are many, and when taken on a large scale (a transport company or a city) add up to significant losses.
What does this have to do with 5G? All. The management of public or private transport networks can be a headache for companies and authorities, and it is precisely one of the areas where new wireless network technology can have a significant impact.
An experience in England shows it well. To test the efficiency of its fleet, the Department of Transport used integrated systems of 5G mobile networks, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence and analyzed the daily use of 600 cars. On balance, the authorities concluded that 120 of these vehicles were absolutely unnecessary and disposed of them. The decision saved the institution a significant $ 500 million.
In situations like this, the pocket is grateful and the environment breathes with relief. Vehicle monitoring promotes not only savings, but also energy efficiency and the reduction of polluting gases. According to the study “5G Green: Building a Sustainable World”, promoted by Huawei and international consultant Analysys Mason, transport is perhaps the sector in which 5G can drive a more dramatic change when it comes to sustainability. Vehicles are responsible for about a third of emissions in various regions of the planet. The 5G green white paper was launched on 19 July this year and is the result of a partnership between the global consulting and research organization, Analysys Mason, and Huawei, the Chinese multinational present in Angola for over 20 years, where it has contributed significantly for digital transformation in the public and private sectors.
Aware of the new possibilities, cities like London, Berlin, Madrid or Copenhagen have adopted urgent technological solutions. Innovative systems analyzed traffic, peak hours, the concentration of pollution, the behavior of drivers themselves and set up a road plan that reduced motor vehicle emissions by between 30% and 60%. The efficient management of transport in real time (automatic control of traffic lights depending on the volume of traffic, for example) and the adoption of green energies were key to reducing congestion and chronic contamination in these capitals.
The future on the march
Stories about smart cars that move or park alone, without direct driver intervention (or risks in the neighbor's car), are nothing new. Much less GPS-guided mobile phone applications that trace the route between point A and point B, calculate travel time and tell you how to avoid roads with more traffic.
What 5G represents for these technologies is the exponential increase in reliability, coverage and an enormous speed of data processing, reducing the so-called “real time” analysis to a minimum. The security factor will certainly win. The delay of a fraction of a second in an indication or alert can be fatal when we are behind the wheel. Advances are going to be rapid. By 2027, consultant Analysys Mason estimates, more than 830 million cars will have direct connections to the latest generation mobile networks.
Also in the industry, the use of vehicles “powered by 5G” starts to gain space. Some companies have started to manage freight transport through these new systems. In China, exemplifies the white paper “5G Green: Building a Sustainable World”, a company also chose to use drones remotely guided to assess the condition of the pipeline line. By replacing ground vehicles that previously did this work, supervisors were able to receive live HD images for the first time from several kilometers of the infrastructure, which increased the quality of analysis.
The world moves at different speeds, and while the driver Mr. José snoozes in the car parked on the Marginal, the speed and reliability of the 5G connect more and more equipment, people, sensors and processes in real time. Energy sustainability is one of the great ambitions of this technological advance. The integration of innovative solutions in seemingly different sectors such as transport, construction, safety, health and industry is possible and will increase the efficiency of the whole. No reverse.
Article written by Sílvio Almada, published in MenosFios with authorization from the author's press office.