How 5G Can Accelerate the Use of AI

By now, everyone in the tech world has heard about the impending takeover of the fifth generation technology in mobile networks, or 5G. 

5G has come but its spread will be slow.

Right now, it is only available in a few cities in the world, far too few to really make an impact and show off its potential. But despite this, the technology has provided sufficient proof that it can and it will work at the speeds it has promised. 

Unlike 4G which focuses on high-speed uploads and downloads, 5G has features that make it ideal for more: the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and the future of computing. 

AI Parts is bringing the best in AI to the automotive aftermarket service and sales industry. Our patented platform, which will rely heavily on neural networks to make predictive maintenance available to more people, sees the importance of 5G for the future of AI.

On this article, we look into how high-speed mobile networks and virtually zero latency can impact the future of AI.

Perfect for IoT

A big problem with IoT is the number of devices that will require connections to the network.

In one square kilometer area, 4G will work for up to 4,000 devices. For context, the city of Mumbai has 28,508 people per square kilometer. New York has over 10,000 people within the same area.

Even with current consumer demand, there is just isn’t enough space to advance IoT implementation.

The threat of a “capacity crunch” is one of the major reasons telco providers have been looking forward to 5G rollouts. Even before the rollout of 4G networks, projections already saw the limitationsof 4G technology to handle growing demand.

By utilizing wavelengths with frequency over ten times that of 4G, 5G is capable of handling up to a million unique devices within one square kilometer.

With no shortage of connections, the technology creates the ideal backbone for the Internet of Things.

More sensors for air quality, traffic, noise, earthquakes, etc. can fit in cities without much threat to the capacity of 5G nodes.

The technology’s capacity can help IoT change the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

These fields require and can easily process vast amounts of data. With IoT, data fields will be filled, helping AI applications model the world with greater accuracy. This means better results.

IoT will provide a level of resolution to data never seen before. As the world shifts to IoT, the data fields AI applications will have access to will unlock some amazing benefits. 

Yet, a challenge exists.

Cities and urban hotspots will probably be the first (and maybe only) spots to enjoy the technology as the higher frequency 5G has a very short range. 

High band 5G which makes gigabit download speeds possible, has a maximum range of about half a kilometre in real-world tests. It is very susceptible to physical interference like trees or even glass windows can block the signal.

This means hardware investments will be expensive (access points can only cover a very small area) and the low density in rural areas can limit viability.

Samsung Galaxy Fold anchored to a 5G signal

Powerful Data Streams

Higher frequency 5G means more waves per second. And since data rides waves, it’s expected that 5G will be faster than 4G.

In a real-world test by CNET, they were able to download 10 hours of 4K resolution videos in just five minutes.

Download speeds on a street in Chicago reached over 1Gbps at peak. The uploads, as expected, remained within 4G territory but telcos are saying that could be improved. 

AI, which is usually done on the cloud, can benefit greatly from ultra-high upload and download speeds. 

Devices can send more data in less time and cloud software can provide feedback in volume. Compression becomes unnecessary.

A use case will be self-driving cars. These vehicles can potentially off-load some of the computing to the cloud. The amount of data generated by LiDars, cameras, and other sensors should be comfortable within the capability of 5G.

Real-time Response

One major advantage of 5G is in latency, or how fast it can transmit and receive a response.

Photo from Samsung

Current 4G technology has a latency of around 50ms while 5G, in theory, can have as little as 1ms delay. That is 150 times faster than a blink of an eye.

This ultra-low response time carries a huge impact on lifesaving applications.

In October 2019, IBM and Samsung announced a partnership that will take full use of low-latency 5G connections in high-stress situations. 

Pairing IBM Watson with Samsung’s 5G-enabled devices and wearables, the two companies built an enterprise platform for applications where fast response times can mean life or death.

5G In Action

Their platform has been trialed by police forces and it uses Samsung’s own smartwatch to continuously stream vitals. The same technology can be used by firefighters, soldiers, and other frontline workers.

Vitals collected by wearables are streamed to an off-site mission control. This lets leadership make key decisions in real-time and react to cues from AI with great speed.

This platform can similarly be applied to industries like mining, manufacturing, and construction.

Data can be uploaded to AI on a cloud, processed, and sent back faster than before.

This technology will also find use cases in industries such as finance, energy, healthcare and even retail. 

Edge Computing and 5G 

One other thing that 5G is strangely unleashing is edge computing.

Edge computing is when advanced processes like AI and machine learning are done on devices themselves, decreasing dependency on the cloud.

Common examples are on-device/offline speech input and on-device AR applications.

As manufacturers like Samsung and Qualcomm are pushing boundaries by creating chips compatible with 5G signals, they have also embedded stronger on-board AI processing.

The message is clear: 5G speeds and near zero latency will not be replacing raw, on-device computing power.

While 5G is seen to free consumers from the limits of 4G, it has also acknowledged that it can quickly become limited. As more and more consumer AI applications are built, demand for bandwidht will grow and eventually outpace the capabilities of 5G.

With this in mind, the push to make the calculations closer to where the data will be used – such as phones, cameras, computers – makes more sense.

As AI also become important in applications where they can’t fail, edge computing can help developers become more selective.

For example, an autonomous vehicle will need to process and understand hazards detected by sensors.

If it needs to transmit data and wait for it to be sent back, it might be too late before it automatically hits the brakes. And with the limited reach of 5G, what if it loses its connection?

For many industry experts, the symbiosis formed by edge computing and 5G will mean exponentials gains to the system.

“Simpler” AI tasks can be done on the device itself. Feedback can be provided immediately even when the data connection fails.

Creates a Smoother Transition

Edge computing is also seen as a way to smooth out the transition from 4G to 5G.

Powerful, on-board processing or edge computing, will slowly wean off some of the demand from 4G technologies while already showing off some 5G features such as powerful “cloud-like” computing.

A simple example would be augmented reality. Present edge computing can already provide a compelling experience. When 5G comes into the future, it can further enhance the familiar AR experience.

And when 5G reaches maturity, edge computing can help limit data transfers only for the most necessary cases. 

A Mutual Relationship 

It’s time to switch things around. So if 5G has the potential to expand the impact of AI in our lives, how can AI impact 5G?

Telco companies worldwide are already using AI to manage their networks. With the slow but steady expansion of 5G, customer expectations and industry commitments made are on the rise.

According to Ericsson, a leading provider of infrastructure devices says that up to 53% of providers will have AI systems manage their networks. 

A Growing Capacity for AI

5G solves many of the limitations AI and IoT for accelerated scaling. Its impact on AI technology will be greater than any of the previous technologies that came before it.

The timing couldn’t be more ideal as innovators like us here at AI Parts are unlocking the potential of the technology in the aftermarket automotive sales industry.

As 5G signals cover more areas around the world, so will further rise the use of artificial intelligence.

10 Most Commonly Replaced Parts of Any Vehicle

Cars are incredible machines and with every new model that comes into the market, drivers are treated to a new set of innovations.

In building cars, specific parts were designed to take a beating.

These parts were designed to handle a lot of wear and take the brunt of the many stresses experienced by cars.

The good thing is that these parts were also designed to be replaced. They are simple to take out and the car aftersales market provides car owners with many options for whatever budget.

In fact, there are so many options out there that it can be very hard to choose.

This is why the Techpro dashboard integrates product pages for spare parts.

On the platform, car parts from different suppliers are rated for compatibility and reliability against price.

With the thousands of spare parts available, the platform will also use advanced software to match the correct parts with the correct models and flag potential compatibility issues before they can happen.

This list is for every driver who wants to be educated about parts they will be replacing. Car ownership can, at times, be very daunting and knowing these parts beforehand will simplify things in the future.

1. Oil Filters

The oil filter is a membrane that ensures the oil that circulates around the engine is free from solid impurities. It uses pressure from the running engine to push oil through folds in the membrane as shown in the photo above.

The oil filter is replaced during an oil change. Since this was designed to be disposable, oil filters are some of the cheapest car parts in the market despite its very important job.

Timely replacement of engine oil and filter will prevent expensive repairs for engine trouble.

2. Spark Plugs

Photo from: Aidan Wojtas / CC BY-SA

The tip of the spark plug ignites the small explosions that run engines.

Spark plugs break down with use and they can become less effective. This results in fuel waste. Bad spark plugs can mean noisier engines, less power when accelerating, and up to 30% drop in mileage and efficiency.

In most cases, new spark plugs should be installed at around 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers) but this number can vary due to driving conditions and car models.

Just like the oil filters, these parts are cheap to replace.

3. Battery

Car batteries have a set lifespan and that’s usually between three and five years.

A broken-down car battery is one of the most common reasons for stalled vehicles.

A car’s battery provides power during start-up and supplies a stable current to more sensitive car electronics. When the engine runs, it also generates power to charge the battery through the alternator.

Batteries will definitely be an item on AI Parts’ future dashboard for preventive maintenance.

For now, the team has created asimple predictive maintenance widget to help drivers check when their batteries might give in. You can try it out by clicking the link here.

4. Lights

Laws were made to make sure every driver takes care of their lights and for good reason.

Car lights keep the driver safe. Headlights make it possible to drive in relative darkness and indicator lights keep the vehicle highly visible at night, in heavy rain, snow, or fog.

An average car can have more than fifteen outdoor lights and it’s likely for a few of them to blow out during its lifetime.

Fortunately, they’re cheap and easy to replace. Manuals will list down the specifications of compatible lights.

To keep things safe, make it a habit to check car lights before leaving your parking area especially before long drives. Discovering busted lights while on the road can be very stressful.

5. Belts

This isn’t about seatbelts.

These belts are found inside the hood of cars. They are used to transfer kinetic energy between components of your engine and are usually made of rubber. Through time, these belts can slip, become loose, or even snap.

It’s a bit tougher to know when belts must be replaced. Manufacturers usually do not specify their lifespans.

The best thing you can do is to make sure your mechanic checks the belts during your visits. Cracks and missing threading are some of the usual signs it is time for new ones. They can also be the source of weird engine sounds.

6. Engine Air Filter

The engine air filter makes sure that the air required by the engine during combustion is free of dust or debris.

Just like most car parts, there are many factors that can affect the lifetime of car filters.

Checking the installed air filter is an easy thing to do. Just consult the manual and you’ll find instructions on how to do this. If the filter is filled with dark, dusty spots, it’s probably time for a replacement.

7. Alternator

The alternator is a component that manages the charge and discharge of the battery.

When the engine is generating power, the alternator works to charge the battery. When the engine isn’t, it uses the stored power to run onboard electronics.

Alternators are considered a major expense worth a few hundred dollars and they’re a common replacement.

Don’t worry just yet. While a faulty alternator is a common problem, most can last for a few hundred thousand kilometres before giving out.

8. Fuses

Car fuses were designed to fail. They protect car electronics by “breaking” when too much current flows through their calibrated conductors.

While they seem easy to replace, don’t do it.

A busted fuse is usually a sign of a bigger problem within the car electronics. It is best to have a mechanic or car electrician check the wiring of the vehicle before the fuse is replaced and the power is restored. In some cases, it really could just be a broken fuse.

9. Brake Pads

These pads undergo a lot of stress. After all, they use friction to “grind cars to a screeching halt”. Eventually, they will have to be replaced.

A broken down brake pad can damage the mount which is a much more expensive job.

It is wise to replace brake pads as soon as they show any signs of damage. Grinding noises when braking or squealing and screeching are the most obvious symptoms. The pads shouldn’t be less than a quarter-inch thick.

Never run a car with a faulty brake pad. To help you plan when to replace your brake pads, you can try out the AI Parts Preventive Maintenance Widget here which also works for batteries.

10. Wiper Blades

These wiper blades are made of rubber and with constant exposure to water, heat, and cold, they tend to breakdown quite quickly.

They’re important to replace because busted wipers can scratch glass.

This can leave unsightly permanent scratches on the windshield.

Worn down wipers also mean bad visibility during rain. Just like other replaceable car parts, there are many original and third-party options in the market so its cheaper than ever to grab a replacement set.

Efficiency and Reliability

It is the car owner’s responsibility to maintain a car that is safe, reliable and efficient to use.

These ten most replaceable parts must be familiar to any car owner and driver. Most likely, you’ll spend for a few of them over the lifetime of your vehicle.

If you want, you can print out this blog post and bring it with you on your next maintenance and request your trusty mechanic to check each part with you.

Car Ownership, Public Transport, Working from Home – How the Pandemic Will Change the Way We Move

You will read it everywhere. This pandemic will change the way we live. But what will these changes look like?

In this post, we explore how the pandemic will change our relationship with cars and transport.  

Before this year, waking up and driving to work was a mundane ritual for billions. In just a few weeks since COVID-19’s first case, public spaces shuttered. These rituals became obsolete.

What does it all mean for cars stuck on “park” both at home and at dealerships? What does this mean for trains and buses suspending services or running with just a fraction of passengers?

Derailed Q3 and Q4

There is a bleak consensus among experts— the automotive industry will take a massive hit.

IHS Markit projects a shattering 22% decline in sales for the rest of 2020. This equates to just about 69.6 million units sold, almost 20 million fewer than the previous year. 

The world is bracing for a recession expected to hit harder than 2008-2009. Buyer confidence is low and purse strings are tied in preparation for what is still an uncertain future. 

One Family, One Car

A side effect of this pandemic will be the decreased desirability of households with two or more cars.

With many companies adopting permanent or semi-permanent work-from-home schemes, an entire family can now share just one car. This can further dampen demand especially in the UK and the US where multiple car ownership is common.

Car Ownership to Become Essential

In March 2020, carpooling services from Lyft and Uber were suspended. Scoop, a carpool service professionals, has also imposed a limit of two passengers per trip. This further curbs even more exclusive options for non-car owners. 

For some experts, the slump in demand will be jolted by a small but valuable spike. The drop in confidence for the safety of mass transportation can make private car ownership essential for more consumers.

This small spike in automobile demand has been seen in China. The country is the world’s largest automobile market and is also origin of the virus. It is the first to settle into life after the pandemic.

In an Ipsos survey, non-car owners in China are the most motivated to make the purchase right now. It’s easy to imagine similar sentiments in other regions globally. 

While this bump won’t be enough to revive losses from the pandemic, it gives some hope as factories begin to open. 

Essential Maintenance on the Rise

While vehicle purchases are indefinitely postponed, essential vehicle maintenance is expected to rise. Car owners will be wanting to extend the service lives of their vehicles as a cost saving measure against the purchase of a new car. It can also safeguard from potentially expensive breakdowns.

On this blog, we’ve discussed the potential of car maintenance in increasing vehicle efficiency and service life. We’ve also tackled proper car care during the quarantine period. 

At this time, car shop owners must strategise how to open their businesses and how the pandemic can permanently affect their capacity and practices.

AI Parts’ Techpro dashboard for car shop owners is uniquely positioned to assist during this time. Using a purely digital dashboard and a predictive maintenance system, Techpro can lessen human-to-human contact. The dashboard also gives car owners access to an AI-powered preventive maintenance tool.  

Public Transport 

In China, it was observed that a bus passenger can infect a fellow commuter sitting 4.5 meters away. In New York, 123 employees of the public transport authority has died from the virus.

These are stark examples of just how dangerous public transportation can be. The virus poses a real threat to passengers and employees who run public transport systems in densely populated cities.

For UK bus rental startup Zeelo, some routes will disappear. Low-volume routes will become obsolete. Restrictive passenger limits will also challenge pricing and sustainability of mass transport systems. 

John Johnson, Chairman of the trade association representing London buses CPT, told Load Star: 

“Coach operators are facing a real struggle if something isn’t done to arrest the drop in passenger confidence. Companies and schools need to seize the opportunity to provide safe transportation with an existing fleet which already serves the UK well.”

– John Johnson, Chairman of the trade association representing London buses CPT, to Loadstar

In Japan where the railway system is the backbone of the economy, corporate measures such as staggered work hours, business closures, and public fear have reduced ridership by up to 30%. 

Above: A photo of a Japanese train attendant before the pandemic.

These observations forecast an ominous future for public transportation. Calls to suspend expansion projects are being made and ticket spend for the average commuter are expected to rise. 

An expected volume of passengers precedes the huge investments made in public transportation. For example, trains are expensive to build and maintain but they make economic sense due to their efficiency and scale. What will happen to them once ridership shrinks permanently?

Safety and/or Privacy

One of the best ways cities can control the spread of COVID-19 is through contact tracing. This is identifying everyone who has been in contact with a confirmed case so they can be isolated and tested.

Amnesty International has singled out some of the extreme ways China’s innovation allows for heightened contact tracing. 

The Close Contact Detector, developed by a government-backed company, can track a person’s location within three rows inside a train car, bus, or plan. 

AliPay has also launched a color-coding scheme for users and their “health status”. The platform uses vast amounts of data and AI to make predictions about each person’s likelihood of contracting COVID-19. 

The AliPay app is now used to control entry in high-volume locations like train stations, requiring millions to subscribe to the service. 

On our LinkedIn page, we also shared an AI platform that uses machine vision for cameras in public spaces to enforce social distancing. 

While these technologies might have yielded positive results against COVID-19, they provide a glimpse to a future where commuters will need to give up a lot of data to participate in mass transport system. The same rules may apply to mass gatherings, offices, schools, etc. 

Logistics Boom 

The logistics sector could see unprecedented levels of growth. This was evident when Amazon offered to hire an additional 75,000 in the US and 50,000 in India to meet a demand spike triggered by the pandemic. Instacart, a US shopping service, offered jobs for 250,000 people.

This can trigger investment in fleets for urban logistics. While the growth of online shopping has been aggressive in the past few years, COVID-19 has caused demnad to spiral out of control and companies are struggling to meet demands.

Small to mid-size delivery vans and other commercial vehicles for urban logistics have become essential vehicles. Smarter integration with fulfillment centers will be a huge feature to have. 

Disappearing Drivers

The pandemic also renewed interest in self-driving vehicles.

By not requiring human drivers, autonomous vehicles reduces human-to-human contact and protect the vulnerable workers in sectors like logistics.

Baidu’s Apollo is a slow-moving vehicle originally designed for transport of light goods. Now, 104 of these high-tech buggies has been deployed in different parts of China  to help frontliners transport and receive hospital supplies. 

image from Cruise

In the US, Cruise has used self-driving technology to deliver food to senior homes in San Francisco. Their modified General Motors EVs  were accompanied by safety drivers in PPEs during their routes. 

Self-driving buggies in Hong Kong are automatically disinfecting high-traffic areas in the airport.

Obliged to Innovate

It’s a terrifying time for every industry. The pandemic has floored the brakes on almost every business from around the world.

As the medical community rushes to control the virus’ spread, businesses who can adapt to a different future will have greater chances of surviving.

While the outlook is bleak, the automotive industry is thrust into an unknown territory. It will have to change its focus to meet the demands of a post-COVID-19 world. It is now challenged to solve mass transit problems and it will face new questions about safety and security of its passengers.

Cars will remain important after the pandemic, but for different reasons.