Zayo: Fiber Powers Autonomous Car

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Significant wireless network demands are imminent as automakers work to make vehicles fully autonomous. In addition to handling high volumes of data, 5G networks will need to transmit data in real-time, because latency could be a matter of life and death, according to Brian Daniels, SVP Z5G for the fiber provider Zayo Group.

A fully autonomous vehicle requires hundreds of on-vehicle sensors, such as cameras and radar, to operate safely, he writes in a blog post. Sensors will collect information on weather and road conditions, accidents, obstacles, pedestrian movement and objects surrounding the car. These smart cars will also rely on sensors embedded in road infrastructure for time-sensitive information for accident prevention and route planning. For “communication from vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle to network — high capacity, low-latency network connectivity is key,” he writes.

Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2050, an automated vehicle will consume from 50 to 500 GB per month. Edge computing will facilitate capacity and speed. “Pushing decision-making bits close to the edge is essential to making these latency-sensitive applications work. Rather than transmitting data to the cloud or a data center, it will need to be processed at the edge of the network, closer to the end user and in real time for communications to the car,” writes Daniels.

Zayo says fiber is still the foundation for the spectrum changes such as massive MIMO, carrier aggregation, network slicing and edge computing. The company is focused on developing networks that will be 5-10 times as dense as today and designed with latency in mind.

December 3, 2018

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