Why 5G is considered an essential element in China’s autonomous driving road map

By Sarah DaiChe Pan

Industry studies have concluded that 5G can reduce the high cost of on-board equipment by shifting some computing power off vehicle. While the optimistic outlook sees large-scale adoption of autonomous cars by 2030, there is still no consensus on what the implementation will look like. — SCMP

When Chinese autonomous driving startup WeRide conducted a remote driving test using 4G wireless networks two years ago, the results were underwhelming: the top speed reached within safety parameters was only 5km per hour.

Soon after, WeRide was approached by national telecoms carrier China Unicom with an offer to help it migrate its driverless technology to next-generation 5G networks. Within a month, Unicom had installed more than a dozen 5G base stations on Guangzhou Biological Island where WeRide is based, and the safe driving speed increased to 30 to 40km per hour.

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