The future of autonomous cars according to a report by Erricsson

In the mid-30s. In the 21st century, nearly every second car on Europe’s roads could be an autonomous vehicle. Ericsson’s latest report “Connected Cars” analyzes the consequences of the changes ahead, including the development of road infrastructure based on the Internet of Things, reliable connectivity and constant communication between vehicles and within the road ecosystem.

Connected Cars are expected to be much safer than today’s vehicles. According to predictions published on Statista, internet-connected cars will help reduce the number of fatal crashes per year by an astonishing 94%. According to a 2020 study by Deloitte, 43% of vehicles in Europe could be partially or fully autonomous by 2035 if appropriate regulations were introduced.

The latest “Connected Cars” report, prepared by Ericsson IndustryLab experts, explains what changes are needed from a technology and business perspective to make this vision a reality. The key is reliable connectivity and the use of data that creates entirely new business models.

Although there is still a long way to go before truly robotic vehicles become commonplace, the market for connected cars is growing steadily.

Statista forecasts that by 2025. The size of this market will be $166 billion, with other sources indicating over $200 billion. However, connected cars are only an evolutionary step toward highly automated and fully autonomous vehicles that will challenge the traditional concept of the passenger car.

In this new reality, vehicle brands will become less important than software or digital services, and the car of the future will be reduced to a hardware platform for integrated traffic solutions.

According to Kearney analysts, today 90% of the value of the average car is hardware and 10% is software. In about 15 years, the share of hardware in the price of a vehicle will drop to 40%, and consequently software (40%) and content (20%) will gain in value. By 2030, according to an IBM-commissioned survey of automotive executives, automakers’ revenue from mobile services will double to 10 percent, while the share of car sales in total revenue will drop to about three-quarters. More data shared with other road users or travelers’ use of infotainment apps will exponentially increase connected vehicle data transfers.

Data transfer for autonomous cars is estimated to range from 383 GB to 5.17 TB per hour. Users of such vehicles will expect efficient and seamless connectivity, whether they are traveling in urban traffic, navigating sparsely populated areas or crossing foreign borders. How important connectivity will become is evident today. More than 25% of car buyers surveyed by Thales Group in 2020. indicated that they prioritize connectivity over other vehicle features, such as engine power or fuel efficiency. Connectivity will not only enable advanced infotainment solutions with the ability to learn and personalize passenger preferences, making vehicles the most sophisticated, intelligent devices.

More importantly, connectivity will clearly impact travel safety. In order to save the computing power of each vehicle and share sensory input among traffic participants, largely autonomous vehicles will operate in a compact ecosystem as we know it today. Both vehicle-mounted sensors and road infrastructure will continuously record and exchange position and other variables. For example, the car will not have to determine the color of traffic lights or the location of other vehicles using its own sensors, because all relevant information will be provided in advance by the intersection itself. This will make autonomous transportation smoother and safer.

However, there is still a long way to go to realize the vision of an autonomous future. Cars equipped with parking assist, adaptive cruise control or lane assist or level 1 autonomous driving vehicles have been available for years. Current cars with Level 2 automation are capable of cruise control and motion-sensitive automatic steering, while in Level 3 automation the car’s powertrain performs all dynamic driving tasks, waiting for the driver to respond to a request for intervention. Levels 4 and 5 will require more than just technology improvements. First, they will have to be heavily regulated, and the process of finding the right regulatory framework will be slow and complex. Just to put the issue of insurance liability in the event of an accident up for discussion.

“The benefits of connected and automated transport can only be unlocked through proper use of the network and infrastructure. A fundamental prerequisite for large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles is efficient 5G mobile connectivity. Fifth-generation technology offers 200 times less latency or wait time between sending and receiving data compared to a 4G network, resulting in a response time of about one millisecond. What is more, 5G networks will enable the operation of 100 devices connected to the Internet per square meter, which will allow the cooperation of a large number of devices from the Internet of Things (IoT) category, from cars to sensors and installations. Other key technologies for future traffic are cloud solutions and edge computing, allowing a more efficient distribution of the computing power of the ecosystem” – emphasizes Magnus Gunnarsson from Ericsson, responsible for launching new services for next generation connected vehicles, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Working Group on. Urban and Autonomous Mobility.

“Although the introduction of autonomous vehicles on public roads is still a very distant vision, the coming years will bring us closer to a revolution. All thanks to the rollout of 5G networks, whose range will first cover the most urbanized areas, but also the main road network. Poland contributes a lot to the development of radio networks thanks to the work of engineers from R&D by Ericsson in Krakow and Lodz. Solutions created by them will in future support the operation of autonomous vehicles and intelligent road infrastructure”. – emphasizes Martin Mellor, head of Ericsson in Poland. “Thanks to the production of 5G devices in Tczew, fifth generation networks in Europe can be built on the basis of components and solutions Made in Poland” – he adds.