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Mobility innovations will enhance economy, save lives

Maha Achour, PhD, CEO and Founder of Metawave, writes about the importance of 5G for autonomous vehicles and robots that will meet the new needs of a global population.

5G is imperative for autonomous driving and delivery bots to reach full potential.



July 17, 2020 Maha Achour PhD KEYWORDS 5G / AVTech Futures / COVID-19 / Metawave / Mobility as a service (MaaS) With uncertainties of future COVID-19 waves, many businesses will continue to be impacted by lockdowns and consumer spending falling to historic levels. During these uncertain times, there are many opportunities for innovative ways to create business, advance our economy, and create new jobs to build a new and brighter future. Effective and safe on-time deliveries, remote collaboration, telehealth, entertainment, smart manufacturing and warehousing, and even telesurgery will become even more critical as we enter this new kind of economic downturn. These critical services require reliable networks and mobility, offering essential goods and services while the world continues to keep our health risks low.

5G low-latency edge services, combined with safe mobility-as-a-service, give us hope for new kinds of jobs while we all adjust to a new normal. It’s imperative that 5G is effective as we determine how autonomous vehicles and robots will meet the new needs of a global population.

Overnight, we’ve experienced a sharp increase in delivery services with a need for day-of goods from providers like Amazon, Door Dash, and Instacart. With reliable 5G networks integrated tightly with autonomous bots, it is not only possible, but also efficient and economical, to expect goods to be delivered safely within hours in most corners of the world.

Wi-Fi simply cannot scale to meet this sort of high capacity and essential demand. Businesses and classrooms have moved to video conferencing as a primary source to conduct business, highlighting poor-quality networks. Low-latency 5G networks will certainly resolve this lack of network reliability and even allow for higher capacity services like telehealth, telesurgery, and emergency-room services.

Delivery services will rely less and less on human drivers, increasing the ability for AVs and bots to deliver goods to anyone in the world quickly and effectively. This will also create entirely new businesses and jobs, giving our economy the ability to recover.

Businesses can offset the high cost of mobility with economy-boosting activities including smart factories, real-time monitoring, and content-intensive, real-time edge-compute services. 5G private networks make this possible and change the mobile-services economy. Bots inside of manufacturing warehouses are already being used. A new 5G infrastructure will not only improve these innovations but create entirely new ways of improving smart factories and cities.

The roll-out of 5G combined with the effectiveness of autonomous vehicles and bots creates markets that we only imagine, like self-driving bots, along with a mobility-as-a-service economy, and others we can’t imagine, enabling next generations to invent thriving markets and prosperous causes.

We’ve all heard the proverb “necessity is the mother of invention”—when the need for something becomes critical, we find ways of achieving it. Winston Churchill said, “never waste a good crisis.” Industries around the world will work together tirelessly to create new technologies and generate new jobs, and we will teach future generations (and they will teach us) as we move forward to develop new ways to work together, live prosperously, and learn wildly. There is big opportunity here, and I am truly lucky to be a part of the solution. 

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