In an interview with CNBC Harman International Industries CEO Dinesh Paliwal discussed the importance of 5G standards, as well as vehicle automation.
“We need standardization. We need clear regulatory framework which cuts across states and countries.
“Imagine Europe. If Germany, France, Italy, they all want to have their own standards. We need one standard, just like internet. And I think this has to happen, otherwise you cannot take advantage.”
Paliwal then compared the industry to cars and made the point that car makers are not going to each come up with their own algorithm and teach their cars to driver completely differently. There has to be a standard by which everyone abides.
“So 5G standards are absolutely necessary. I will tell you that China is actually taking a lead in that. They are launching and developing standards. But we have a lot of work to do in North America, as well as Europe. I hope in Asia Singapore will also lead that. We’ve always been on the cutting edge.”
When asked how long until mass scale autonomous vehicles arrive, Paliwal replied:
“So two things: You said the key word ‘mass scale.’ The technology is here. If you want to run in Austin, Texas; or Singapore; or Munich, you can run two to three years from now, fully autonomous vehicles literally a meter apart.
“But to really launch that in Taipan, Bangkok, in Shanghai, in Mumbai, we are at least five to ten years away. Because, think about it, we [have] almost a billion cars on the road today. And according to the definition, they’re not the smart cars, they’re the dumb cars. So you need to…either retrofit these cars, which is extremely challenging, or you have to have the whole new generation of cars, which is ten years away.
“So what I’m excited about is not just autonomous, [but] the automation in the car which significantly improves the safety aspect. As you know, the U.S. alone lost last year $1.5 trillion GDP due to car related accidents and productivity loss. If you can cut it by half, we’re talking 1.5% of GDP to be added back to the U.S.
“So its a massive gain from 5G and autonomous, but automation will be the important thing.”