China Mobile, SAIC Motor, and Huawei Technologies jointly demoed what they claim is the world’s first 5G-based remote driving technology with a consumer car using the C-band frequency at Mobile World Congress Shanghai.
Huawei provided the 5G wireless solution that connected SAIC Motor’s smart concept car, the iGS, while China Mobile provided the connectivity.
In the test, the driver was located over 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 5G network. (For comparison, consider that – including peripheral vision, and without turning his/her head – an average person has a binocular visual field of around 180-190 degrees).
Control signals for the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brakes were transmitted over the 5G network, which provided the ultra-low latency required to support instant response to different roadside conditions. From his remote position, the driver was able to maintain full control over the vehicle at all times.
In this particular test, end-to-end latency for all vehicle control functions was less than 10 milliseconds.
According to Huawei, remote driving has a broad range of potential applications in the future, especially in particularly harsh or dangerous environments like mining sites and waste disposal sites, or when remote work is more efficient, like compacting large swaths of soil with a remote-controlled steamroller.
Remote driving can also be used to complement autonomous vehicles. For example, with remote driving, a single person can control an entire fleet of vehicles or manually intervene in situations that require human input, such as remote management of car-sharing resources, or in emergency situations, such as rescue missions in disaster zones.