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The Autonomous Driving Revolution: Debunking the Necessity of 5G Connectivity

Wei Wang and Xiaoman Duan 2

1, Robostreet Trucks  
2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The advent of autonomous driving has ushered in a new era of transportation, promising safer roads and increased efficiency. With the rollout of 5G technology, many have speculated that its capabilities are indispensable for the realization of self-driving vehicles. However, this paper aims to challenge this assumption by examining the current state of autonomous driving technology and highlighting the fact that 5G is not a necessary requirement for its successful implementation. Through a thorough analysis of existing autonomous driving systems and their communication needs, we demonstrate that self-driving vehicles can function effectively without relying on 5G connectivity.


The convergence of autonomous driving and 5G technology has been a topic of significant interest in recent years. While 5G offers remarkable advancements in communication speed and capacity, this paper seeks to dispel the notion that 5G is a prerequisite for the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles.

Autonomous Driving Technology Overview

We begin by providing an overview of the current state of autonomous driving technology. We delve into the various components and sensors used in self-driving vehicles, emphasizing the onboard processing capabilities that enable them to operate independently of external communication networks.

Communication Needs of Autonomous Vehicles

In this section, we analyze the communication requirements of autonomous vehicles. We explore the data exchanged between self-driving cars, infrastructure, and other road users. By assessing the nature of these communication needs, we highlight the feasibility of utilizing existing communication technologies, such as 4G LTE and dedicated short-range communication (DSRC).

Existing Autonomous Driving Systems

Here, we present case studies of existing autonomous driving systems and their successful operation without relying on 5G connectivity. We showcase real-world examples that demonstrate how self-driving vehicles function efficiently using alternative communication methods.

Local Processing and Sensor Fusion

One key aspect of autonomous driving is the ability of self-driving vehicles to process and analyze data locally using powerful onboard computers. We delve into the concept of sensor fusion, which enables the integration and interpretation of data from multiple sensors to ensure robust decision-making without constant reliance on external networks.

Scalability and Infrastructure Considerations

Considering the large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicles, we address infrastructure concerns and explore how existing communication technologies can handle the increased data flow.

Future Prospects

While emphasizing the autonomy of self-driving vehicles, we acknowledge the potential role of 5G in enhancing specific aspects of autonomous driving, such as enabling more advanced vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.


In conclusion, this paper demonstrates that there is no necessary relationship between 5G and autonomous driving. Self-driving vehicles can operate efficiently and safely using existing communication technologies, without being reliant on 5G connectivity. The successful deployment of autonomous driving systems lies in the robustness of onboard processing and the integration of various sensors, rendering 5G connectivity non-essential for their basic functionality.

By sharing these findings, we hope to broaden the understanding of autonomous driving technology and encourage further research and innovation in this transformative field.

Keywords: Autonomous driving, self-driving vehicles, 5G connectivity, communication technology, sensor fusion, onboard processing.