WATCH: Ericsson and MTN team up for 5G racetrack demo

Can 5G save racecar drivers from fiery crashes? Yes.
5G, Tech, Africa, Ericsson, MTN, Society, Future, Mobile, Demo, Innovation, Technology, South Africa

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The future is 5G.

Imagine this: you’re driving around a racetrack, at suitably breakneck speeds. That might be challenging enough, but add this wrinkle: you can’t see outside your vehicle. At all.

Such a scenario might sound straight of a horror movie gore-fest (or terrible cheesy action flock). Spoiler: it happened pretty recently – and there were no fiery explosions whatsoever.

The reason for the disaster-free drive: 5G.

MTN South Africa and Ericsson teamed up to showcase the capabilities of 5G in the first demonstration of its kind in Africa – a live feed from a car on a skid pan at the Gerotek testing facility in South Africa.

For the demo, the driver was unable to see outside their vehicle at all – they could only navigate and see obstacles via a live feed from a 4K video camera mounted to a VR headset. The audience was able to view the driver’s surroundings whilst moving around the track, allowing them to experience what the driver was seeing in real time.

Rafiah Ibrahim, head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says the demo shows that there’s an exciting future for 5G. “5G presents an opportunity for operators to improve their existing consumer businesses and address previously untapped value chains in the digitalisation of industries,” she explains. “The collaboration between MTN South Africa and Ericsson has led to an exploration of a variety of use cases and applications for digital transformation of industries. These include the automotive, mining, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and utilities sectors.”

Wanda Matandela, chief enterprise business officer at MTN, is also pretty thrilled. “Using pilots like this, we are not only assessing and preparing our network to roll out 5G in the future, but we are also future-proofing our infrastructure to enrich customer experience and take industries to the next level. There are great opportunities for both the private and public sectors to join us as we forge ahead, harnessing the power of technology to unlock applications that can optimise enterprise efficiency and improve the delivery of services. This demonstration supports our vision of leading the delivery of a bold, new digital world for our enterprise customers.”

The demo follows the first 5G trial in Africa, which took place in January.

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