The transition to life in a world where computer-controlled drones regularly carry out everything from military sorties to pizza delivery is making some people nervous.
For the most part, the public still hasn’t interacted with drones except when they hear about them on the news, typically not about anything pleasant.
However, industry leaders are now saying there is tremendous potential for drones and 5G to improve quality of life.
Have we cast judgment too soon on this new technology? Drones are just flying robots, after all. Robots have already proven to be useful in everything from delivering your online purchases to operating on soldiers wounded in the field.
Combine that kind of utility with a new high-speed 5G network, and maybe it is possible for 5G to improve quality of life.
What Is 5G, and Why Should You Care About It?
5G stands for fifth-generation. It’s the next step up from the 4G network that is, for the time being, the quickest mobile-specific network available worldwide for most devices.
The upgraded system is coming soon, very likely during this year, and manufacturers will no doubt be sprinting after ways to use 5G to improve quality of life for their customers.
While late-game versions of 4G have been hot-rodded to provide considerable speeds, 5G will enhance this capability in small, relatively closely held areas and trade off with 4G for broader coverage.
The technology centers on orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, an “air interface” that can transmit large quantities of data efficiently. That means higher speeds and lower latencies than 4G, and eventually equally broad coverage.
Drones and 5G
Before 5G arrives, however, gigabit 4G will deliver nearly the same level of speed for consumers. So how can 5G be so amazing if the perceived additional speed isn’t noticeable? The answer lies in collaboration with other technologies.
Once fully developed, 5G promises to deliver the kind of reliability emergency-response teams depend on. That means it can communicate with a drone that might save your life, even when a human could not.
Early tests have already shown a properly equipped drone could locate and deliver a defibrillator in time to stop a heart attack, which is pretty impressive.
With such high bandwidth and consistency, the retail industry could not only realize same-day delivery, but achieve same-morning delivery in urban centers.
Imagine putting an order in for lunchtime takeout from your favorite spot and having it delivered by drone.
5G on the Highway
In addition to drones, automakers are betting on 5G as the technology that will deliver self-driving cars. Current network standards make it difficult for manufacturers to put self-driving cars on the road with confidence.
Part of the reason for that comes because of the need for a network that can distribute updates to vehicles in real time to defend against cyber-attacks.
Self-driving cars could eventually become nothing more than wheeled drones themselves. Without the need for human input behind the wheel, the concept of car ownership changes.
Using 5G technology, many companies in the automotive market space wouldn’t focus only on car sales to consumers, but on selling fleets of self-driving cars available for rent in a service-type application. Intel is already developing a new type of modem that will be used across all three types of devices — mobile, drones and self-driving cars.
Have We Reached the Era of Friendly Drones?
5G might just be a turning point. Our perception of drones has often cast them alongside the T100 from ”Terminator” because of their role in military operations. However, they show enormous potential to make our everyday lives better.
While we can’t say what new challenges life with drones will bring, we’ll soon see firsthand the benefits they can deliver, thanks to new 5G technology!
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