Imagine a city where self-driving electric cars anticipate when and where their passengers will need a lift long before the vehicle is called. Batteries to shore up energy shortfalls arrive before they are needed. City managers know the exact placement and condition of every city asset, and theft is immediately detected. There is no traffic, because every vehicle is in constant communication with every other car and traffic light. The residents know there will never be any delay in the services they need because the city around them functions as a perfect, seamless organism just beyond their perception.
That internet-of-things enabled city of the future looks a lot like the experiments with ubiquitous 5G cellular networking the military is doing today.
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brandon Newell, the director of the Navy’s SoCal Tech Bridge, leads what he calls a 5G living lab. His experimentation, culminating in a demonstration later this month, looked at how 5G cellular connectivity across a base would unlock new uses for self-driving vehicles, greater energy efficiency on base, and even better teaming between drones and ground robots.