- Robo taxis are quickly gaining steam…
- From drone to your doorstep…
- We’re now using AI to find brain aneurysms…
A common misunderstanding about the implementation and deployment of new wireless technologies is that they happen all at once.
It’s normal to think that once a new network technology like 5G has been “turned on,” that’s it.
But that’s not the case… It is actually a lot more complex than that.
It requires an incredible amount of effort, time, and investment to develop these technologies and coordinate their standardization on a global level. And without the standardization of a technology like 5G, our smartphones wouldn’t work as we travel country to country.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is the umbrella organization that coordinates the wireless standards around the world so that we have comprehensive standards that can be used to deploy wireless technology in a structured and consistent way.
As the name suggests, 3GPP was established originally to produce standards for 3G wireless technology and has clearly evolved beyond its original mission.
In order for a wireless network to function properly, the standards must be adopted by wireless networks and used in their physical infrastructures like the wireless base stations and antennas that we see attached to poles, buildings, and cell towers.
Those standards are also applied to our smartphones and other wireless devices. After all, if the technology in our phones doesn’t meet the standards of wireless technology, they simply won’t work.
What most don’t realize is that the standards are evolving and expanding over time. More interesting is that they are evolving after the first 5G networks have been launched. The 5G technology that we are enjoying today is based on what is known as the “Release 16” standards.
We can think of Release 16 as the foundation for 5G as we know it today. These standards are capable of supporting the radically improved performance improvements of 5G compared to its predecessor 4G that we’ve been using for the last decade or so.
And I’m excited to say that we’re going to see the pilot and early trials of the next release of 5G standards – Release 17 – beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Release 17 is the natural evolution of Release 16. The most important aspect of the new standard is to specify smaller modems that will result in lower cost and also lower power consumption. [For reference, the cellular modem is the key hardware component that is required for a wireless device to connect to a wireless network.]
That may not seem like much, but it’s huge. Lower cost, lower power modems will result in an explosion of 5G-enabled sensors that will benefit from 5G sub-2 millisecond latency. This will be a catalyst for what many refer to as internet of things (IOT) applications.
More relevant to consumers will be the application of these low-cost, low-power modems in consumer wearable devices. The most obvious applications will be for electronics like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and of course, augmented and virtual reality (VR) eyewear that would benefit from 5G wireless connectivity.
Augmented reality (AR) in particular is the most exciting to me. AR-enabled eyewear enables us to have a mixed reality (MR) experience where our normal field of view is overlayed with data, images, graphics, and even video… all in real-time.
That’s why these smaller, lower cost and lower power consumption standards are so important.
We’re going to see the first round of legitimate AR eyewear later this year, which will be tethered to another wireless device like our smartphone or connected to a Wi-Fi network.
But by the fall of 2023, we’ll see the augmented reality eyewear incorporate these new Release 17 standards, and thus the new modems to build the 5G technology right into the wearable devices.
By incorporating the modems right into the glasses or the smartwatches, we won’t need to carry around a smartphone anymore. Imagine that.
Imagine being able to leave our home or office without a phone in hand and still be seamlessly connected through our augmented reality eyewear which looks largely like a normal pair of sunglasses. Cool.
Now, I know that some of us might be wondering what comes next with Release 18? Yes, it does get even better; but not in a way that we’ll “see.”
Release 18 is largely about the employment of artificial intelligence (AI) in cellular base stations to improve overall network performance.
5G networks are the most complex wireless architecture to date, and it is inevitable that we need to employ some intelligence to optimize the networks in real-time. The only way this can be done is by using intelligent software.
Based on the current timeline, we can expect to see Release 18 commercially deployed in 2025. We’re going to need it by then as the growth in data traffic continues to grow exponentially and the wireless networks will need to balance the load of the data traffic in order to keep up with the growth.
Last week, I wrote about the 2022 plans to shut down 3G networks across the U.S. – and the timing wasn’t coincidental.
With Release 17 coming out with trials this year, and widespread usage in 2023, there will be a proliferation of new 5G-enabled devices coming on the networks next year.
And that means that the wireless operators are going to need as much radio frequency (RF) spectrum as they can get their hands on.
Self-driving robo taxis are now live in Las Vegas…
Motional, the joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai, just announced a self-driving robo taxi service in Las Vegas. For regular readers of The Bleeding Edge, this is very much like what Waymo is doing in Phoenix.
The service operates within a geofenced area, so artificial intelligence knows everything about the roads and the geography. This enables Motional to operate the robo taxis with no safety drivers in the front seat.
I’ve been tracking Aptiv’s progress before it even became Aptiv.
In The Near Future Report, I originally recommended Delphi as a way to gain access to the soon-to-be spun-out automotive technologies division (at that time) which became Aptiv. It turned out to be a great investment and we’ve been tracking Aptiv’s progress ever since.
Aptiv and Hyundai partnered back in 2020 to pilot Lyft’s self-driving service on the Las Vegas strip. Hyundai provided the cars, while Aptiv supplied the autonomous driving technology. And, of course, Lyft powered the ride-hailing service that brought it all together.
And it was incredibly successful. This pilot program completed over 100,000 self-driving rides.
However, the pilot with Lyft was limited exclusively to the strip. It did not cover the rest of Las Vegas. That’s why this announcement is so exciting… Motional is expanding its coverage to the entire city.
To start with, Motional’s robo taxi service will be free to passengers. That’s to incentivize people to try it out.
Once the public realizes that these self-driving cars are safe and effective, Motional will no doubt start charging for rides. And we’ll also see the joint venture begin to launch similar services in other cities around the world as well.
2022 is already shaping up to be a pivotal year for autonomous driving technology. We’ve got Motional running robo taxis in Vegas. Waymo is operating in Phoenix. And Cruise just launched an autonomous ride-hailing service in San Francisco.
So we have these major deployments happening around the country at the same time right now… This shows us that things are picking up very quickly.
The race is on.
Self-driving cars are not years into the future. They are here now. And they are only going to proliferate in the months to come.
That’s why I recommend investors build their position in this space now. Go right here to learn about my top recommendations.
Drone deliveries are ramping up…
Imagine getting your groceries, household items, and even fast-food meals dropped down to you from a drone in a matter of minutes.
That’s becoming a reality…
Google’s drone delivery division, Wing, just hit a major milestone. It has now made 200,000 commercial deliveries, and half of those came in just the last six months. This tells us that drone deliveries are picking up…
We first talked about Wing way back in 2019. That’s when it received regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make deliveries.
As a reminder, Wing’s drones are larger versions of the consumer drones that we can buy on Amazon. I’m sure many readers have seen someone flying these smaller drones in their local park.
Wing’s drones however are fully autonomous. The delivery location is simply sent to the drone, the package is loaded, and off the drone goes. When the package has been delivered, the drones are pre-programmed to return back to base. They can travel about a mile a minute.
Over the last several years, Wing has developed a streamlined process for making these deliveries efficient. It all starts at a centralized facility where the packages are held.
The drones have starting pads, called “nests,” outside the facility. That’s where crew members load the drones with packages to be delivered. Then the drone zips off to its destination. Once there, it carefully places the package in the designated spot and flies back to its nest for the next delivery.
Here are visuals of the process in action:
Wing Drone Picking Up a Delivery
Wing Drone Making a Delivery
The first video gives us a great look at one of Wing’s facilities. We can see a crew member loading up a package for delivery.
And the second video shows the drone completing its delivery. We can see it’s a smooth process.
As we discussed in 2019, Wing first launched in rural Virginia. Since then, it has expanded to Australia and Finland.
And that’s not all…
Wing is now partnering with one of Australia’s leading grocers, Coles. According to the program, consumers can order 250 different items from Coles for delivery. This includes food, health care products, and toiletries.
Talk about convenience. Imagine being able to order any household good and have it delivered within the hour.
Wing also teamed up with KFC for delivery. This is something we’ll see a lot more of, as fast food is a perfect application for drone deliveries. As it stands, Wing is now making over 1,000 deliveries a day. That’s one delivery every 25 seconds. Incredible.
Next up, Wing plans to expand into the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area in Texas. There, it’s partnering with Walgreens. Consumers in DFW can have their medicine delivered by drone.
And interestingly, Walgreens employees will be the ones loading up the drones for delivery. It won’t be Wing employees.
Clearly, Wing is in expansion mode. We’ll gradually see drone deliveries roll out across the U.S. and Europe in the coming years. These services could eventually even replace car delivery services like DoorDash or Uber Eats.
And this is one more piece of the automation revolution happening around us. The labor shortages have thrown this trend into hyperdrive… since companies need to find new ways to operate.
And as they see the convenience and efficiency of automating many tasks, they’ll never want to go back.
That’s why I’ve been helping readers gain exposure to some of the companies enabling this shift. To learn more, you can watch my recent presentation here.
This AI continues to revolutionize healthcare…
We’ll wrap up today with a company that may be familiar to longtime readers.
About a year ago, we talked about a company called Viz.ai. What’s so exciting about this company is how its artificial intelligence platform is geared toward saving lives.
If we remember, Viz.ai was the first AI to receive approval from the Food and Drug Association (FDA) as a medical application in the United States.
That first application involved strokes. The AI plugged into computerized tomography (CT) scanners to search brain scans for signs of a stroke. Then it would notify doctors and specialists of its findings.
Well, Viz.ai has a new application. The AI is now tackling brain aneurysms. And it works similarly.
First, the AI analyzes CT scans. It looks specifically for signs of weakened or swollen blood vessels in the brain. And if it finds any, it notifies specialists immediately.
Like strokes, this is another area where timing is everything. The mortality rate of brain aneurysms is about 40%. So if the AI can identify a potential aneurysm before it happens, specialists can treat patients accordingly. This could save countless lives.
This is a great example of preventative and predictive medicine. It’s also a fantastic application for artificial intelligence. The future of medical care will fundamentally change with technologies like this.
And as a result, we will see medical and insurance costs go down once these technologies are widely deployed. That’s because patients who receive rapid care can recover more quickly. This eliminates the need for more intensive, long-term care.
And as investors, this should be a red-hot trend on our radar. I’ve written numerous times about the “convergence” of AI and biotechnology. This will not only save lives – it will help us increase our wealth.
To learn about my top recommendation in this space – which is currently trading at a discount – please go right here.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
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