5G network to improve road safety: VTT

Unikie sensor 1Having access to comprehensive and reliable data would allow road maintenance contractors to prioritise the most urgent jobs. (Image source: VTT)The next-generation mobile network and fast data transmission solutions can be used to collect a huge amount of data on vehicles on the road

The information can be used to provide road weather services, carry out road maintenance and control self-driving cars. Ultimately, the aim is to reduce accidents, said a press released by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The 5G-Safe project of VTT aims to explore the possibilities of using the 5G mobile network in collaboration with partners like the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Destia and Unikie to improve road safety, it added.

Senior Scientist Tiia Ojanperä from VTT, said, "The data can be collected automatically without the drivers needing to do anything themselves. The required technology can be installed at the factory. The data can also be processed and warnings sent to other road users by means of automated systems."

Local road weather services are one of the most important data collection applications. In future, real-time weather information and warnings can be sent directly to the drivers' satellite navigation devices, it further added.

The company stated that some automated weather warnings can also be transmitted through the 4G mobile network and solutions are gradually being implemented. However, transmitting real-time video footage or 3D views between vehicles requires considerably more network capacity. The fast 5G network has the required capacity, it stated.

5G technology will open up new possibilities from the perspective of road maintenance. The new technology will provide an extremely efficient way to collect information on the condition of roads. The data can be used to alert road maintenance providers to a range of issues requiring their attention, such as snow build-up, potholes or fallen trees.

"Road maintenance contractors are currently responsible for collecting this information themselves and therefore need to drive around to inspect roads visually. This is highly labour-intensive work. If monitoring could be crowdsourced to all road users, road maintenance contractors could work considerably more efficiently and also cut their costs," he added.

Having access to comprehensive and reliable data would allow road maintenance contractors to prioritise the most urgent jobs. Issues could be identified at an earlier stage and fixed more promptly. More efficient maintenance could improve the entire road network and therefore increase road safety.

5G technology can help human drivers behind the wheel, but its impact on self-driving cars could be even more revolutionary. Real-time data can be used to better control self-driving cars and change their behaviour on the basis of observations. VTT's self-driving car Martti has already trialled these possibilities in respect of, for example, detecting obstacles on the road in advance, it concluded.

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