Swap Your Phone for Glasses and Flight Taxi

New trends turn the world upside down - virtually and in reality. Holy cows, like the ubiquitous smartphone, could disappear faster than you can think. And instead of driving by car, I might soon be traveling with a flying taxi. That’s why the Automotive IT Congress this week in Berlin is also about “low latency”, data transmission at the speed of light. This should make the visions of the future come true.

It’s that time again. Everything will be different. I’ve just become friends with my new smartphone, finally know how everything works and how I get the best out of the little jack of all trades. And now I read on the net, that mobile phones will soon land on the scrap heap. Are you serious? New trends would be computer simulations that create a complete world around me. A world in which the very real environment merges with artificial, virtual elements or even created completely artificially. Sure, a mobile phone with its mini-screen cannot do that.

Therefore, the future screens probably disappear from the hand, the cell phone, and find themselves more in glasses form. By that, I always have the entire world in view. With every turn of the head, every nod, the field of vision swings - and I have my hands free. That’s the way it should be.

The huge drawback: without cell phone I have no keyboard. Then of course it needs new control options. This is where gesture control, voice control and systems come into play that accurately record what my eyes are currently focusing on. Eye tracking is it called. It’s also used when I’m at the wheel in a high-tech car. Then the system recognizes by frequent blinking that I get tired and the car suggests a break. That’s a nice thing.

But back to the glasses: Small cameras capture what I want to see and the computer calculates the desired information - and plays it live and in color in my field of vision. This is technically anything but trivial. Cameras, screens and superfast computers in lightweight glasses? How does that work? Everyone has seen the first models before. You can find them at trade fairs or in a gamer environment. Not really petite devices in the format and charm of a large diving mask. Nothing for everyday life. About one kilogram heavy, after one hour at the end of the battery life and they cost several hundred euros.

Why it is like that? Because the whole thing needs a lot of computing power! To ensure that the virtual and the real world are perfectly aligned, extremely extensive calculations are required. Finally, with every movement of the head, the field of vision has to be adapted very fast. The Reality Must Not Stutter - But It Does.

The connection to central high-performance data centers has not yet helped in this case, since the communication networks could not respond fast enough to the head movements of the wearer. So the developers have all the components - from the computer, the camera on the screen to the power supply - integrated into the glasses. That brings a little bit of speed – but the design is still a long way from being “cool”.

To make the glasses lighter, daintier and really portable, the computing power has to get out of the glasses. Then you save a lot of energy, only need smaller light batteries and this thing is also getting cheaper without its own computer. Computing Power Close to the User

So we need communication networks with extremely fast response times. Experts speak of “low latency” or “low latency”. The use of fiber optic connections is an important prerequisite. However, the physics of latency also set limits here. Even with data transmission at the speed of light, the information in the network can travel only a certain distance within a certain time.

An important factor for low latency is therefore "proximity". In other words, avoid data being sent halfway around the world to central server farms, and then return an answer far too late. The key to low latency is thus not to build up the computing power hundreds of kilometers away from the user, but as close as possible.

What is important for the data glasses is also relevant for the vehicles of the future. In order for vehicles to warn each other of dangerous situations, the information has to go through the grid at a rapid speed and at the speed of light. The computing power is best placed in their close environment, on highways and main roads. The closer the "brain", the lower the reaction time.

This creates the basis for autonomous control of, for example, vehicles or production robots. Drones can deliver my purchases home completely independently, or in road traffic, vehicle convoys can drive automatically at a very small distance behind each other without affecting traffic safety. No traffic jams anymore - fantastic! And: even flying taxis will become reality in the not too far future with this next digitization stage.

What new opportunities arise with low latency, participants from the automotive industry discussed with representatives of Deutsche Telekom at the tenth automotive IT congress in Berlin. Telekom-supported start-up companies demonstrated how extremely responsive communication networks will impact different areas of application and how the automotive industry can benefit from them.