5G will make robot cars safer in bad weather

(Image credit: Jamie Carter)

Two of the biggest causes of road accidents are weather and not paying enough attention to the road. But Finnish researchers are aiming to solve both problems in one with a new project built on 5G networks.

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the 5G-Safe project, which will develop new systems to track and monitor road weather at a hyperlocal level, as well as giving robotic cars the ability to hear.

"Contemporary driver support systems are mainly vision-based, relying on signals generated by the vehicle's sensors," said Tiia Ojanperä, a project manager from VTT. 

"5G and short-range radios will also bring the power of speech and hearing to vehicles, taking their capabilities to a new level."

Automatically discerned

The services that they're building require no action from the driver. Local weather and road conditions are automatically discerned from vehicle sensors and spread in real-time to other road users and autonomous vehicle control systems. 

In addition, cars will be able to exchange real-time video and radar data between each other as they pass, improving the situational awareness of autonomous vehicles and making them safer in inclement weather.

"Finnish ICT firms have major export potential in this area", said Ojanperä. "5G will form the cornerstone of interaction between robot cars."

Duncan Geere
Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.