New Connectivity Is Bringing Roads Up to Speed – Wired.co.uk

Three big trends in connectivity are set to revolutionise our roads in the next five to ten years: edge computing, 5G and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. In 2022, edge-node sensors will be installed at roadsides around the world as an initial step in bringing all three together as part of the transport infrastructure.

Edge-based computing focuses on shifting the intelligence and data processing much closer to the original data source. Edge servers, known as edge nodes, are deployed in close proximity to vehicle networks. Unlike cloud computing, they can deliver real-time information without any delay.

The movement of data from cloud-based to edge-based has started but, in 2022, edge will become more prevalent, leading to consumers experiencing the first benefits of true 5G-based communication. For motorists, this will mean instantaneous content and high-precision, location-based services. For businesses, it will mean being able to reach customers more effectively.

Practically, this will be achieved by plug-and-play edge nodes arriving at roadsides. Unlike previous technology upgrades, such as adding cell towers, this wont require disruptive roadwork the nodes will primarily be hooked up wirelessly.

These edge nodes, incorporated into roadside units, will act as location references to support real-time, precise services. They will provide drivers with information on what is happening on the road, such as temporary blocks or the closest available parking at their destination. These time savings will translate into fuel and cost savings. Uber drivers, for example, who earn money based on the number of journeys or deliveries they complete, will be able to pinpoint a specific assigned rider, even in a crowded area, orthe exact front door for a delivery.

Businesses will also no longer operate solely from the cloud, which relies on customers reaching them via an app or website. Instead, some will start on the edge and connect with consumers they know are located close to their services. A car wash, for example, will be able to send a discount code to customers driving nearby.

These developments have already begun, with a number of edge-node infrastructure projects due to be deployed or further scaled in 2022. New York is piloting roadside units to improve safety, using them to deliver two-way alerts via an app that pings to keep vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, protected in high-traffic areas. In Austin, Texas, 5G roadside equipment will be deployed to provide real-time traffic updates and lane guidance. This will support safety and mobility applications, including signal controllers that grant traffic priority for emergency vehicles, and apps that issue alerts warning of incidents or road works.

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New Connectivity Is Bringing Roads Up to Speed - Wired.co.uk

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