5G networks are set to start rolling out later this year, and their effect on the way we live could be revolutionary. By accelerating download speeds exponentially, 5G technology will not only speed up communication, but will also keep devices on the Internet of Things constantly connected, empowering smart homes, smart factories, smart cars and even smart cities. This could have a dramatic impact on the economy, adding $12.3 trillion in goods and services to the global economy annually by 2035, a study commissioned by 5G wireless development innovator Qualcomm predicts.
5G could also transform life for the workers who empower the economy, transforming everything from the way work is done to the way employees get to work. Here are three ways 5G technology could change your daily commute.
You’ll Get to Work Faster
One important way 5G will change the nature of the daily commute is helping employees get to work faster. Today, traffic flow is guided by traffic lights that are timed through a combination of planned timing schedules and inductive loop technology that can detect iron in nearby vehicles. In theory, light signal time schedules are designed to coordinate lights from one stop to the next so that a platoon of cars driving at a certain speed will experience a smooth flow of continuous green lights. However, in reality, most transportation agencies rely on outdated schedules and technology, resulting in poorly-timed lights. This slows motorists down, making commutes longer and more expensive as drivers waste fuel stopped at red lights.
5G technology could speed up the flow of traffic by allowing traffic lights to receive real-time information about current traffic patterns from cameras, sensors and drones distributed throughout smart cities. This should allow traffic lights to be more responsive to actual traffic, keeping traffic flowing and reducing unnecessary stops at red lights. Preliminary tests of smart traffic light systems by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh yielded a 40 percent decrease in traffic stops, a 21 percent drop in emissions and a 26 percent speedier commute.
You Won’t Have to Drive Yourself
5G will not only make commutes faster, but it will make them easier because you won’t even have to do the driving. Autonomous vehicles depend on real-time input from a variety of sources, including a car’s internal sensors, navigational landmarks, GPS systems and other vehicles on the road. The amount of data involved is enormous, with Maja Systems cofounder Joy Laskar estimating that a self-driving car will generate two petabits of data, equivalent to two million gigabits. With current Wi-Fi networks, this would take 230 days to transfer a week’s worth of data from a single vehicle.
5G will be fast enough to overcome this problem, making self-driving cars practical. The result will be that commuters can be driven to work instead of driving to work. It will be as if each car owner had their own personal shuttle to drive them to work each day.
Your Can Use Your Commute to Get Things Done
Being able to let your car do the driving will transform your commute into an opportunity to get things done on the way to work. With your hands and eyes free, you can watch a TV show, read a book or take a nap on your way to the office. Or if you prefer to be productive, you can start getting work done even before you get to work.
Your ability to get things done on the way to work will also be facilitated by 5G connection speeds. You can turn your commute into a telecommute by using your 5G wireless connection to plug into the internet and work online. Conceivably, if you’re a remote worker, you could even be driving to a vacation destination while getting work done on a connected laptop in your car.
The speed of 5G wireless technology will be able to help optimize the coordination of traffic lights and the flow of traffic patterns, allowing you to get to work faster. 5G speeds will also be able to provide real-time information that empowers autonomous vehicles, so that you can be driven to work instead of having to drive. This will free you up to get things done during your commute, whether you want to get an early start on work or just relax and take a short nap before the work day begins.