Honda and Verizon are teaming up to research how new connected safety technology using 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) could ensure fast, reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles and pedestrians sharing the road.

Working with the University of Michigan’s Mcity, a test bed for connected and autonomous vehicles, the partnership will investigate how to achieve super-fast, reliable and low-latency data transmission at the edge of the network, which is essential for connected vehicle safety.

Since 2017, Honda has been developing a technology, SAFE SWARM, that aims to remove all collisions. Using cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication, the system enables vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data. A major limitation is the need for onboard artificial intelligence capabilities, but with the arrival of 5G, AI capabilities could operate in the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

“Honda’s research collaboration with Verizon is an important step in our longterm effort to develop connected vehicle safety technology to realize our vision for a collision-free society,” said Dr Ehsan Moradi Pari, research group lead at Honda’s Advanced Technology Research Division. “While the research is preliminary and not intended as a product feature at this time, 5G-enabled vehicle communication and MEC have the potential to advance safety for everyone sharing the road.”

“The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights,” adds Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. “When you consider that roughly and 94% of accidents are caused by human error,” he says, “Our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers ‘see’ things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives.”