Autonomous vehicles mostly rely on public MEC because they typically roam outside the coverage of private area networks, but businesses serious about deploying their own commercial autonomous fleets need to consider the value of a private MEC infrastructure. Private MEC solutions can provide expanded coverage, which has currently been the main hindrance for applications on autonomous vehicles.
Private MEC can provide enhanced security and efficiency, especially if it leverages C-V2X. Businesses that want near real-time insights, decision-making and operations should consider a MEC solution that's integrated with a private 5G network because it provides enterprises with a secure and dedicated computing platform necessary for MEC-enabled applications that can enhance edge computing in autonomous vehicles.
Private MEC solutions are already used by logistics and supply chain companies to help automate and improve quality control processes through computer vision. High-definition cameras connected to a 5G network allow for the monitoring of product pick-and-pack lines so errors can be detected and corrected in near real time. The same latency and ability to perform near real-time data analysis and delivery could help power granular autonomous fleet management.
By using a private MEC solution, businesses have far more control over network performance to prioritize and secure specific kinds of data for added efficiency. A private MEC is further enhanced by C-V2X, which commonly uses the 5.9 GHz frequency band to communicate. This band has been officially designated the intelligent transportation system (ITS) frequency in most countries and uses 3GPP standardized 5G mobile cellular connectivity to send and receive signals from a vehicle to other vehicles, pedestrians, or to fixed objects, including traffic lights. With a range that exceeds more than a mile, C-V2X can function without network assistance.
Although a private edge computing solution that integrates 5G C-V2X offers many benefits to businesses looking to enhance edge computing in autonomous vehicles, deploying them comes with its own set of challenges, regardless of what they're for.
- MEC requires real estate, and that becomes complicated when edge computing gets closer to the user.
- Autonomous vehicles need larger geographic availability to utilize edge data.
- Edge computing solutions require power as the necessary data centers need dual sources for redundancy and resiliency.
These edge data centers may also need to be set up in less-than-ideal locations and environments, and each one will need access to fiber networks to provide the backhaul connectivity. These small MEC data centers will also have their own operations challenges, and given their distributed nature, they will have to be as hands-off as possible while still being monitored and secured.
Like with network deployments, 5G-enabled MEC that leverages C-V2X requires planning, expertise, and ongoing management support. For businesses looking to make the most of edge computing in autonomous vehicles, it's worth partnering with a service provider who can provide the private MEC infrastructure they need to propel them forward.
Learn more about how Verizon is supporting 5G connectivity for autonomous vehicles.