KT chairman focuses on 5G for driverless cars

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KT chairman focuses on 5G for driverless cars


KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu delivers his speech Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Provided by the company

Hwang Chang-gyu, chairman of Korea’s second-largest mobile service provider KT, said Tuesday that the success of forthcoming driverless vehicles will depend on fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, the next major stage of mobile telecommunication standards.

Delivering a keynote speech for a session known as The Road to 5G at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the former Samsung Electronics CEO said that a driverless car should be able to process at least 1 gigabyte of data per second to properly understand the surroundings and make the right decisions.

For billions of “connected vehicles” to operate while exchanging information simultaneously, super-speedy 5G technology should be able to seamlessly connect them, he noted.

Google has spearheaded self-driving vehicle research in recent years, and German automaker Audi has followed suit, unveiling the concept of the A7 driverless car in January at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The vehicle drove itself to the event in Las Vegas from San Francisco. In Korea, however, self-driving cars remain in a somewhat sluggish research stage, mainly due to various government-imposed regulations and restrictions.

The audience responded enthusiastically as Hwang presented a video clip that featured him presiding over a video conference in a driverless car using live translation and interpretation services.

The video also demonstrated hologram technology facilitated by 5G.

The next-generation connectivity is expected to be 300 times faster than currently available services and the fastest standard of tri-band Long-Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A), a 4G technology that can transfer 300 megabits per second (Mbps). The 5G standard is expected to be commercialized sometime around 2020, according to experts.

Hwang stressed the importance of global cooperation when it comes to developing 5G, given that there are no international 5G development projects yet and that debate still exists over what 5G exactly concerns.

A day earlier, KT agreed with China Mobile and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo to jointly develop and promote 5G technology largely targeted at the Asian market.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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