Honda has partnered with US telecoms giant Verizon to explore how 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) can improve the safety of connected vehicles.
The partnership was established through both companies’ participation in the University of Michigan’s Mcity testbed for connected and autonomous vehicles.
Ehsan Moradi Pari, PhD, Research Group Lead at Honda’s Advanced Technology Research Division, said:
“Honda’s research collaboration with Verizon is an important step in our multi-year effort to develop connected vehicle safety technology to realise our vision for a collision-free society.
While the research is preliminary and not intended as a product feature at this time, 5G-enabled vehicle communication and MEC have the potential to advance safety for everyone sharing the road.”
MEC enables data to be processed more locally rather than being sent to and from the cloud—greatly reducing latency and speeding up decisions. For autonomous vehicles, MEC is especially vital to ensure actions can be taken rapidly in response to fast-changing and often unpredictable road conditions.
Sanyogita Shamsunder, VP of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon, commented:
“The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights.
When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94 percent of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers ‘see’ things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives.”
Honda’s SAFE SWARM technology has been in development since 2017 with the aim of achieving a collision-free society. The automaker recognises the technology’s use of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication is a limitation as it requires each vehicle to feature onboard AI capabilities.
“The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle,” the partners wrote in a release.
Honda and Verizon explored three main scenarios where 5G and MEC can improve vehicle safety:
- Pedestrian Scenario: A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon’s MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon’s Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
- Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenario: A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon’s MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
- Red Light Runner Scenario: A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.
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