San Diego

Qualcomm Says 5G Will Lead the Way to Self-Driving Cars, Better VR and More

The company is helping to make 5G a reality in San Diego

As San Diego marches towards a 5G wireless, Qualcomm says it will lead to innovation in the automotive industry, virtual reality, and wireless communications. 

Thursday, the company unleashed new technologies for smart watches, gaming, computers and other sectors that will be improved with 5G at the Sorrento Valley office. 

5G will deliver speeds approximately 20 times faster than what is possible with a 4G system.

To put it in perspective, 2G allowed us to send text messages, 3G connected us to the Internet, 4G made that practice faster. Developers say 5G will change our world. 

A faster network will also allow for autonomous driving in San Diego. Smart cars will rely on sensors around the city to pick up on someone running across the street or another car turning the corner. 

In cities, there will be enough intersections for small towers to be integrated into current light poles. 

More towers will have to be built along highways to accommodate autonomous vehicles. 

"You'll have many towers on the freeway," said Maged Zaki, director of technical marketing for Qualcomm. "Some of the towers will be used to talk to the cloud and the cars and others will be just for car-to-car communication." 

The exact number of towers needed will depend on transmitters and receivers along with antennas put inside the cars that will talk to the towers. 

Qualcomm has also developed real-time technology allows the car to read the driver's eyes to determine if he or she is too tired to drive. 

Another industry that will be greatly improved with 5G is augmented and virtual reality.

Currently, signals are delayed by 20-25 milliseconds on average in virtual reality. That is why people often get nauseous when they walk with headsets on. 

But with 5G, a faster connection will eliminate this problem, engineers said. 

"In order for this to work, you need a lot of data to come through the VR headset device," said Guilherme Brighenti, an engineer with Qualcomm. "Not only that, the time it takes this device to talk to the serve needs to be very low, we're talking 5 or 6 milliseconds." 

Other major companies like AT&T and Verizon are gearing up for 5G. Verizon just announced a partnership with the City of San Diego to help make it a smart city. 

Qualcomm said they have other exciting projects happening too. For example, customers can purchase a laptop with hardware in it that allows the battery to last up to 22 hours. 

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