Home5GSoftBank partners with Honda to research 5G in connected vehicles

SoftBank partners with Honda to research 5G in connected vehicles

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The Japanese telco will deploy experimental 5G base stations at Honda’s R&D facility in Hokkaido next year.

Japanese telecommunications operator SoftBank and compatriot car manufacturer Honda have recently announced that both companies have begun discussions toward a joint research project to strengthen connected car technologies.

The two companies said they will pursue this joint research with a view to the future adoption of 5G technologies. SoftBank and Honda will create a 5G environment by utilizing Honda’s closed test course (Takasu Proving Ground) and work to develop the following technologies:

  • High-speed handover technology;
  • The development of technologies and on-board antennas which will enable a stable handover of base stations for communication by a vehicle moving at high-speed;
  • Recovery technologies for areas with weak/out-of-range signals;
  • The development of technologies that can secure data sending/receiving performance in areas with a weak signal as well as data processing technologies;
  • The joint research will also focus on the technological development for various other usages, the two firms said.

In 2018, SoftBank will install experiential 5G base stations at the Takasu Proving Ground, and the two companies will start joint research under the 5G environment.

Huawei and Vodafone have recently carried out a demo in which the two firms showed how pre-standard 5G can be used by an authorized operator to remotely control a vehicle.

The test was carried out in cooperation with the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey, in the U.K. and the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In this demonstration of pre-standard 5G, the vehicle was located on the University of Surrey campus and was controlled from London’s ExCel centre using a fully encrypted connection.

Huawei highlighted that 5G could be used in the future by trained and authorized operatives communicating over fully encrypted channels to remotely control machines working in particularly harsh or dangerous environments such as mining and waste disposal sites. It could also be used for the emergency control of autonomous vehicles, the vendor said.

“The 5G standard is close to completion and it’s encouraging to see how important capabilities such as low latency and increased reliability are shaping up. This innovative demonstration shows us an exciting glimpse into the future, complementing 5G’s role in providing enhanced mobile broadband. It is a milestone in the work we’ve been doing with Huawei to show how our network will support 5G connected vehicles in future,” Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group’s head of research and development and technology strategy, said.

The Chinese vendor is actively involved in the development of connected cars technologies. Earlier this year, Huawei, together with China Mobile and compatriot car maker SAIC Motor, have carried out a demo in which they verified the high-bandwidth, low-latency potential in C-band frequencies, laying a foundation for future development of connected smart vehicles.

In the test, the driver was located more than 30 kilometers away from the vehicle. Several high-definition video cameras installed in the vehicle sent multiple real-time HD video feeds to the driver, providing him with a 240-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings over a high-bandwidth network based on likely 5G technologies.

Control signals for the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brakes were also transmitted over the 5G network, which provided the ultra-low latency needed to support instant response to different roadside conditions, the companies said.

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