WASHINGTON, September 13, 2022 – 5G-connected street infrastructure, such as traffic lights, will make commuter travel environmentally friendly and safe, said a panel at a Punchbowl News event Thursday, and it can be facilitated by the release of more spectrum.
The move toward autonomous vehicles will require vehicles and road structures communicating with each other. Some vehicles on the road include sensors that detect objects to avoid collisions – but these vehicles still require someone behind the wheel.
Nick Ludlum, senior vice president and chief communications officer of the event’s sponsor, CTIA, spoke about the environmental benefits of autonomous transportation and said vehicles and road systems can “all work together…to make more efficient transit patterns…so people aren’t sitting and idling in cars with, [producing] all the emissions.”
But Ludlum noted that the Federal Communications Commission can facilitate such autonomous travel by auctioning off more spectrum. “More spectrum means better networks, and better networks means bigger innovations,” he said.
Joe Moye, CEO of autonomous transportation company Beep, said that his company’s specialty is autonomous shuttles – with capacities of 12–14 passengers.
“The vehicles have to interface with infrastructure like a human would,” said. Beep’s CEO argued that 5G-enabled real-time communication between vehicle and infrastructure is “absolutely critical to the safety and effectiveness of these types of vehicles.” Moye also explained that with 5G technology, Beep is developing systems by which a remote operator can take control of an autonomous vehicle and maneuver it out of an emergency.
Moye said he believes that adoption of autonomous mass transit could also significantly reduce commute-driven emissions.
“If we’re gonna really transform mobility as we know it,” Moye said, “we need to have a convenient, safe alternative to our personal vehicles.”