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This 5G connected Proton Exora can drive by itself

Putrajaya is hosting a 5G Malaysia showcase this week where telcos and vendors will demonstrate various 5G applications and use cases. 5G offers more than just speed as it can enable more possibilities with ultra-low latency as well as higher capacity to support even more devices.

One of the interesting demos from Celcom is an autonomous car that’s connected to 5G. It’s a Proton Exora MPV that’s fitted with an array of cameras, radar and LIDAR sensors which enables the car to sense its surroundings.

The driverless system is developed by eMooVit, a tech startup that focuses on autonomous vehicle software. This customised Exora is considered to be a level 4 autonomous system as it can drive by itself including turning the steering wheel and pedals. However, a driver is still required behind the wheel.

The vehicle is constantly communicating with a central server where it retrieves the latest mapping information and sends back updates that would be shared with other vehicles. As the car drives along a path, the existing sensors will constantly compare what it sees versus the map.

If there’s a change in the environment, for example, an obstruction or road construction, the vehicle will communicate with other vehicles and other infrastructures in real time. Not only it allows other vehicles to be aware of upcoming changes, but it can also improve traffic flow and avoid accidents. This Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communication needs an ultra-reliable network and that’s where 5G’s ultra-low latency comes into play.

Of course, there’s always redundancies. If the backend system is not available or if there’s a network issue, the autonomous system can still run from the local processing unit.

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In the test vehicle, there’s a big red button next to the gear shifter. In case of an emergency and for safety purposes, a human driver can push the red button and take full control of the vehicle.

The 5G Malaysia showcase will be launched on the 18th April 2019 and Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir is expected to take a ride in the autonomous vehicle. The showcase will be open to the public this coming weekend on the 20th and 21st April 2019 at Perbadanan Putrajaya.

Apart from the 5G connected autonomous car, Celcom is also showcasing 5G hologram call, 5G connected drones, virtual reality and 5G workspace. Celcom is a member of the 5G taskforce formed by the MCMC and the operator has reaffirmed its readiness to roll out 5G in Malaysia.

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Alexander Wong