China’s 5G vehicles are controlled from over 20km away with 6ms latency

On March 24, China Mobile completed its first 5G-V2X remote test drive in Xiong’an New Area, successfully demonstrating remote control of unmanned vehicles from over 20 km (12.4 miles) away through a 5G network, enabling acceleration, deceleration, steering, and other operations with a delay of only six milliseconds, or one tenth the latency time of 4G. This is a major achievement for China Mobile in informatizating the Xiong’an New Area and integrating smart cities. This was also a great gift for the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the Xiong’an New Area, which is located about 60 miles southwest of Beijing and whose main function is to serve as a development hub for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic triangle.

China Mobile Xiong’an branch’s 5G-V2X remote autonomous test vehicle

Business operations are already live in Xiong’an

Since the establishment of Xiong’an New Area, China Mobile has been dedicated to building a smart new area, taking initiatives in the digitalization and informatization process of Xiong’an to promote the development of new industry technology and innovation. China Mobile so far completed 5G testing and launched gigabyte broadband and narrowband-internet of things (NB-IoT).

Maneuver vehicles through 5G

In September 2017, China Mobile began deploying 5G networks and remote driving projects in Xiong’an. By February 2018, 5G coverage over the test field was achieved. In this 5G remote driving test, testing personnel used remote simulation to control vehicles and transmit commands such as steering and acceleration over the 5G network to in-car panels. The low latency and broad bandwidth of 5G networks are significant factors for achieving remote control with high precision and reliability.

Remote control driving technology (reference image)

Remote control driving has various applications

Remote control driving has a wide range of applications in the future, especially in harsh or dangerous conditions, such as depopulated areas, mining areas, waste transportation areas or other environments inaccessible by people. This technology can significantly improve productivity and reduce manpower. Meanwhile, remote controlled vehicles can complement autonomous driving during its early stages of commercialization. One person can control multiple unmanned vehicles remotely and intervene when abnormalities arise during the drive.

Demonstration of control vehicle model in the near future

The manager of China Mobile’s remote driving project has stated that the test successfully demonstrated 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency network capabilities and laid the foundation for the development of smart IoT vehicles. China Mobile will continue to promote 5G-V2X-based remote driving projects, and deploy a vehicle model in the near future that enables over-the-air high resolution video transmission and more efficient vehicle control, giving “drivers” a more direct perception of road information to control the vehicle.

The next steps are three further stages of testing

For the next steps, China Mobile will coordinate with Xiong’an New Area authorities and management to enable further testing composed of three stages, including closed field tests, standardized road tests, and open road tests, providing technological support for the commercialization of remote driving.

This article originally appeared in Sina Tech and was translated by Pandaily.