Every day, drivers take significant risks when getting behind the wheel. And with the rise of 5G, it seems the stakes are getting higher. But what if our addictive mobile devices, and the data they utilize, made us safer while on the road?
5G is coming to a world caught in the middle of a massive distracted driving epidemic. An epidemic that has been difficult to measure, and as a result, significantly underreported. The results of our last distracted driving study showed the problem to be 100 times worse than the best government data. 69-million drivers use their phones behind the wheel every day, and that’s only in the United States.
While these statistics may seem staggering, the good news is many countries are trying to improve driving safety. For example, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set a goal of decreasing the number of deaths and injuries from traffic collisions in half by 2020. Also in the mix is the European Union Mobility Sector who signed a road safety pledge to have zero traffic fatalities by 2050.
Regardless of how you look at it, humans are responsible for 100% of traffic crashes. So how can new technologies help? Here are five ways 5G will disrupt and improve driver safety:
1. Cellular-vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) ramp up
Today, vehicles have to rank and limit the amount of data sent over a network. But with 5G, a new range of data transmission types will open up. In addition to receiving map data, drivers will be able to send full video feeds from the vehicle featuring full sensor data. Why would anyone do this? In the event of a crash, this data will be used to help emergency responders get a visual image of what’s going on, helping them escalate events based on priority!
5G data has the potential to improve localized weather reporting. Drivers will receive real-time weather warnings based on their location. Navigation systems will alert drivers to avoid icy bridges or roads affected by weather conditions, suggesting a safer route. 5G will also offer the transmission of real-time video footage and 3D views between vehicles to improve navigation.
2. The rise of smart cities
Just like the Earth’s population, interest and investment in smart cities is growing at a rapid pace. More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this is increasing at a rate of almost 2 percent a year. That’s 70,000,000 people a year moving to (or being born in) urban cities! Smart cities are a necessity, but what are “smart cities” anyway?
Smart cities will use 5G and IoT applications to improve the daily lives of the people who live, work and visit these cities. City-wide systems will use wireless signals to gather data from objects like trash cans, street lights and even entire buildings, bridging physical and digital connectivity.
Today’s smart cities take advantage of the 3 C’s, connectivity, coverage, and cost-efficiency, to improve citizen’s living standards. More than ever, city leaders are focusing on these C’s when it comes to transportation planning and safety because they make a difference in people’s lives every day.
New York is currently using smart technologies as part of an $18.6 million connected vehicle pilot with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Connected vehicles will enable smartphones and other devices to “talk” to other vehicles and infrastructure. For example, drivers will receive notifications of someone about to run a red light or oncoming cars. This will reduce the number of fatalities caused by traffic crashes and help achieve the city’s Vision Zero goal by 2024.
3. The rise of smartphone telematics
In the event of a crash, minutes make the difference between life and death. In the 21st century, we still rely on phone calls to get help, and this continues to pose serious problems. Emergency systems necessitate clear, verbal communications over mobile 9-1-1 calls, something callers under acute distress are unable to do. Expecting humans to clearly communicate their precise location and other key emergency information in the event of a crash has proven to be unreliable.
Our smartphones, on the other hand, know exactly where we are and who we are. We use applications that track our health, monitor our sleep, and allow us to be connected with our friends and family. So the question becomes this: in a world where everything is possible on a smartphone, why should we pass on the opportunity to be prepared for the worst, like a car accident? Enter smartphone-enabled crash detection.
Through smartphone telematics, sensors on a mobile device can detect when a user is involved in a crash, notifying family members and emergency responders. 5G will allow for faster response times, helping drivers get help faster in the event of a crash. How much faster? Try 20 times faster. 5G is going to change the way public service answering points respond to emergency situations, helping everyone feel a little more secure while on the road.
5G is positioned to disrupt driver and traffic safety for people around the world. From weather and traffic warnings to crash detection, 5G can help drive negative events towards positive outcomes. Aside from faster connectivity speeds, 5G is set to make safe driving a reality for everyone.
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