The development of driverless (or autonomous) cars is continuing and the first generation of vehicles are expected to be released as early as 2018. There are four distinct level of automation to be aware of. They include;
1) Feet off – the vehicle automatically controls gear changes, acceleration, and braking.
2) Hand off – the vehicle takes control of the steering
3) Eyes off – the vehicle can detect positioning and proximity of vehicles and obstacles so the driver doesn’t need to look
4) Brain off – the vehicle will handle absolutely everything
Autonomous development has already led to the creation of numerous motor industry jobs and the number will rise further as advancements continue. One of the things that will stimulate it is 5G. The new technology will improve communication between people further than 3G and 4G but will also dramatically advance how machines communicate. This is great news for driverless vehicles.
The most fantastic thing about 5G is it will significantly expand the data capacity whilst simultaneously lowering latency. This means communication will be faster and larger amounts of information will be able to be shared. As a result it becomes possible for vehicles to communicate with each other and pieces of infrastructure more effectively. This would allow the creation of a complete autonomous road network.
It is expected that the development of 5G will create approximately 2.4 million jobs in Europe alone. The UK is the second largest investor in the technology (following Germany) so is poised to see big returns.
The current projection is that 5G will begin deployment in Japan and Korea in 2019. The UK, EU, and US will follow with roll-outs between 2020 and 2025.
A lot of work will be needed to allow autonomous vehicles on to public roads. There will need to be changes in standards for MOT and vehicle licensing, insurance, the Highway code, and several other important pieces of legislation. In addition the infrastructure will need to be put in place and the vehicles themselves need to be produced.
The future looks very bright, particularly if development continues at the current pace. If all comes to pass and 5G is rolled out successfully and autonomous technology develops it could result in the creation of numerous motor trade jobs all around the world.