Future perfect: How 5G, autonomous ride sharing vehicles will change the way we commute

Updated: Mar 09, 2019 7:16 AM

How 5G, IoT, ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles will change the way we commute.

The success of autonomous shared mobility will take off with 5G.

By Rishi Mohan Bhatnagar

The increasing global motorisation rate calls for finding long-term solutions for public and private transportation, as also to limit the rising levels of carbon dioxide emissions. The world is reaching critical levels of demand-supply gap in public transport, creating diminishing ridership in public transport. The lessened use of shared transportation is contributing to high pollution levels and traffic congestion in urban areas.

Going forward, EVs and implementation of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) on autonomous vehicles for fewer road accidents, organised transport and increased shared mobility are the need of the hour.


The success of autonomous shared mobility will take off with 5G. According to Barclays, an autonomous car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second, and such a massive amount of data would easily overwhelm even the best 4G LTE systems.

Fleet management solutions currently utilise 4G LTE systems for data processing and to provide a suite of telematics data that can be stored in the cloud. This large suite includes alerting, workflow, reporting, asset location and social access. With the exponentially increased bandwidth of 5G, autonomous ride-sharing vehicles will gain the vital ability to sense the environment around, provide positioning, receive and transmit data from ‘5G-enabled smart city traffic systems and vehicles’, all in real-time and at efficient speeds.

In the best 4G LTE systems, the latency is below the 100-millisecond mark. This speed serves fine for majority of wireless applications, but in terms of autonomous vehicles, the system should be able to react instantaneously to prevent obstacles and accidents. Here, 5G is expected to provide low-latency speeds of 1 millisecond promised, to allow for prompt reactions.


The shift towards service-based transportation has already begun. According to Statista, the ride-sharing market—service providers such as Lyft and Uber—is expected to increase from a 9.8% penetration rate in 2018 to 13.3% by 2022.

Adding to the trend of non-ownership of personal vehicles, MaaS can bring together multiple service-based mobility options onto one platform. Users will be provided with better options in terms of choosing transportation services, public or private, without having to juggle multiple platforms and interfaces.


By leveraging IoT, ride-sharing can provide users with cashless payments, on-demand rides and service-provider rating systems. It’s not always that ride-sharing can be the best mode of transport, but with MaaS users can leverage a new unified platform with all the capabilities from various service-provider rider systems. By expanding the application of IoT, users can compare routes, prices and ETA across service-based transportation platforms.

(The author is president, Aeris India, the IoT solutions and connectivity firm)

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