The move towards commercialization of 5G, the fifth generation communication system, is accelerating.
With the spread of mobile phones, communication technology has been evolving dramatically since the 1990s.
The foundation was created by telecommunications companies such as Nordic Sweden Ericsson. The author conducted an interview about the transition of communication technology in 2017 at the Ericsson headquarters in Stockholm and at the research institute for advanced science and technology, promoted by the Swedish government.
At one of the facilities visited, an executive of the ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) policy which is advanced by the Swedish government explained that "1G technology was being developed in the 70's in this building where you are standing".
Of course, at that time 1G was not used to denote the technology. After 3G research and development and dissemination began in the 90’s and 2000s, the term 1G was established to differentiate the older 70’s technology.
And now, we are shifting to the new 5G technology. The actual standard competition, which is now the de facto standardization of 5G technology has become fierce, including in China where the mobile phone business global market has expanded rapidly in recent years and also in Sweden, which is the birthplace of 1G.
Following these circumstances in Japan, major telecommunications carriers such as NTT DOCOMO are conducting 5G demonstration tests. In this series of columns, I am introducing the state of technology briefing session linking ITS and 5G held at Yokosuka Research Park (YRP) in Kanagawa Prefecture where the company's technology research institute is located.
Additionally, 5G-related demonstration tests are being conducted in various parts of Japan. Many of them are not mere research and development and instead provide services aiming for practical use in the early 2020s.
In the second half of May 2019 we covered the 5G technology exhibition held in Tokyo and received details from the business person of the related companies.
Here is an introduction to some of the interesting companies.
The system monitors video from "free viewpoint" while device is moving or in fixed location Here, "free viewpoint" refers to visualizing virtual reality that appears to be an external angle of a single camera. It appears to be from actual video shot by multiple cameras. Simply put, it looks like a drone video.
Technically, large-capacity high-quality moving images are created by implementing a Programmable SoC (System-on-Chip) from the US company Xilinx which synthesizes images that surpass typical real time imaging. Moreover it only requires a low power source.
As a concrete example they succeeded, using an experiment that ran a large minivan at 160 km / h on Fuji Speedway. They partnered with NTT DOCOMO for the communications.
They also conducted a demonstration test using a camera mounted on a small vessel in Uchiura Bay, Numazu City, and Shizuoka.
As proved by these experiments it is possible to determine the surrounding situation in the direction you want to visualize using multiple camera images from the surrounding, monitored area This is another technology enabled by the 5G high transmission capacity and low communication delay capabilities.
Regarding in-vehicle communication technology, the expression V2X is generally used, but this is I2V.
The idea is to create a situation as if you were in a remote place in a virtual world called the Metaverse. The same technology is also being experimented with by Bosch and Continental's major auto parts manufacturers, such as wearing VR equipment to feel the scene from the back seat of a traveling car.
Alternately the feature of Nissan's I2V is that it rides in the car as an avatar of its own human likeness. It is also possible for multiple avatars to ride and see each other and to also view interior of car. In addition to imitating humans, avatars can be changed to other various characters. Japan distinguishes itself from other countries in this creative animation business. I2V is likely to be mass produced as a monetized business in the future.
Remote control of construction equipment was conducted at Obayashi's Ai River Dam private site (Ibaraki City, Osaka). It assumed the work includes restoration work for landslide disaster. They used two construction machines with a total of eight onboard cameras and four fixed cameras around the work area. The images were sent to the remote-control system using 5G technology.
The remote-control system side has multiple monitors that the operator monitors while operating the lever remotely controlling the construction machine.
In the shovel car example, they transferred earth and sand scoops downhill to a dump truck. In the dump truck they then removed the earth and sand, thereby lowering the soil level. According to KDDI officials the operators were veteran drivers of construction equipment. At the beginning of the experiment they felt uncomfortable with working through images, but then gradually became comfortable using it. "Remote control is less tiring," they said, considering they are less affected by vibrations and outside air than when on-site.
In addition, NTT DOCOMO displayed exhibits for remote medical surgery and virtual racing equipment for competition wheelchairs that provide imaging for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
His major is the world automotive industry and he is also familiar with the energy industry, IT and the aging society problem as the related fields. He acts around the world based in Japan and USA and writes for the general magazines, the technology journals and the automotive related media etc.
He is also commentator of motor race and world's motor show on TV program based on his career of the driver of Indy Racing League and NASCAR. In recent years, he has been covering about a paradigm shift from developed countries to developing countries, the motorized vehicle like EV and the telematics.