"Autonomous cars do not need 5G," respected Professor Gerhard Fettweis told us in the spring. Karl-Heinz Laudan of Deutsche Telecom agrees. "Automotive does not need mmWaves. I can now add an informed source, Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle Platform and Product. "These vehicles will be fully capable of operating without C-V2X." That's of course true. Otherwise, the cars would shut down when out of range of a cell site.
Connected cars - as opposed to autonomous cars - will be a major business. Ford is putting 4G in every car in 2018. AT&T estimates it has 27 million cars on the network today, although few have a second connection. That's mostly for entertainment today, but literally dozens of Waze-like information applications are coming to market. Butler predicts, "Road signs could provide advance warning of recent accidents or provide more context regarding road construction."
Dan Warren, now at Samsung, was the first to explain to me why cars couldn't be completely dependent on phone networks. "Will they freeze when they hit a deadspot? Of course not."