Korean mobile operator SK Telecom working with Ericsson and BMW Korea, have achieved peak rates of 3.6Gbps for a connected vehicle travelling at a speed of 170 kilometres per hour.
The demonstration took place at BMW driving centre located in Yeongjong Island, Incheon, where the three companies have deployed a mmWave 5G trial network using the 28GHz band and first demonstrated a 5G-based connected car in November 2016.
5G is expected to make use of millimetre frequency bands, which have some challenging characteristics that need to be overcome to enable mobile services. By using advanced beamforming and beam tracking technologies, SK Telecom was able to address the limitations of millimetre wave bands.
The limitations stem from the fact radio waves in these bands use high gain and high directivity antenna, which causes signals to be often blocked by objects standing in their path and have smaller coverage.
The 3.6Gbps of data rate realized by the three companies significantly enhances the stability of connected car services by improving image recognition and V2X (Vehicle to Everything Communication) technologies.
What this means it that a vehicle will be able to communicate, in real time, with other vehicles, traffic lights and surveillance cameras to understand and respond to unexpected situations and obstacles and remain within the lane in a much shorter time.
Moreover, the ultra-high transmission speed at millimetre waves is expected to have a huge impact on all 5G use cases including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), drones and robots.
For instance, companies will be able to develop innovative 5G services, including a service that allows users to watch VR content within a moving bus or a drone that sends real-time video of a disaster-stricken area to provide a better understanding of the situation.
Furthermore, with much faster transmission speeds over the 5G network, media services including 4K UHD image, VR live broadcast and 3D video services will experience further improvements.
In January 2017 SK Telecom announced its plans to build a ‘New ICT Ecosystem’, which encompasses 1) autonomous driving and connected car, 2) AI and big data, 3) smart home, 4) energy management, 5) media, and 6) global content.
SK Telecom noted: “Connected car is regarded as the barometer for 5G as it can only be realized through the combination of all 5G technologies. As ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency are prerequisites for realizing autonomous driving and immersive media services, the 3.6Gpbs transmission speed we successfully demonstrated today not only brings us a step closer to realizing autonomous driving, but will also have a great impact on a broader range of industries.”