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Car, network and chip giants form 5G car club

Audi connect

Even by contemporary partnership standards the cabal of eight major companies that call themselves the 5G Automotive Association is a biggie.

The first rule of car club is, presumably, to talk incessantly about car club. The three German car companies that bought HERE from Nokia have got together with the three big kit vendors and the two biggest chip vendors to push the connected car industry as we move towards the 5G era.

Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Intel, and Qualcomm have reasoned that 5G will be the moment of truth for the connected car. The lower latency will enable things like remote control, instant emergency support and realtime services such as contextual navigation. The group seems keen on the term C-V2X, which stands for cellular vehicle-to-everything and seems like a needlessly convoluted way of saying connected car.

As is so often the way when these consortia are unveiled, the rest of the announcement is heavy on buzzwords and lofty aspiration but light on specifics. Here are some of those aspirations:

  • Defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements and implementation strategies.
  • Supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes.
  • Addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication, distributed cloud architectures and more.
  • Running joint innovation and development projects leading to integrated solutions, interoperability testing, large scale pilots and trial deployments.

Needless to say everyone provided a canned quote, here are the least generic of them:

Sajjad Khan, Director Digital Vehicle & Mobility, Daimler

“The connected car enables us to offer our customers services, both inside and outside the vehicle, which make their daily routine tasks easier, increase comfort and safety and thus create considerable added value. The fundamental basis for this is a reliable and fast connectivity technology whose standards have global validity. Together with the other founding members of the 5G Automotive Association, we as Daimler AG are working on precisely that – with the aim of raising car connectivity as well to a new level with the advent of the next generation of mobile phone technology.”

Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson
“The success of 5G is dependent on cross-industry work in new eco systems to digitalize industries. With the creation of this Association we will leverage our latest technology, 5G, and work closely together with the car industry to jointly develop solutions as well as provide input to regulation, certification and standardization. We are excited to be co-founder and to work with leading automotive companies shaping the connected car solutions for the future.”

Doug Davis, GM of the IoT Group, Intel
“Intel’s leadership work in 5G technology development, long–term commitment to open standards, and collaboration with leaders in the automotive industry will drive an accelerated path to adoption of 5G in automotive and transportation. Partnering together with other industry leaders will ensure 5G can support the use cases that will deliver on breakthroughs in safety and services for automated driving, smart city and intelligent transportation solutions around the world.”

That’s it really. The announcement seems timed to coincide with the Paris motor show, which starts in a few days and at which there is likely to be a fair bit of connected car action. Yesterday Here, the navigation company spun out from Nokia’s massive Navteq acquisition and bought by Audi, BMW and Daimler last year, announced ‘next generation vehicle-sourced data services’, which seems to mean big data for cars.

In practice this will mean loads of sensors generating loads of data which is then processed by loads of processors to generate loads of decisions. A sort of miniature version of the IoT vision. All this cleverness will allow drivers, or perhaps the cars themselves, to make smarter decisions on things like traffic conditions, potential road hazards, traffic signage and on-street parking. The ultimate stated aim of Here is for as many car makers as possible to use it and thus generate a definitive flow of realtime data. Google might have something to say about that.

“What we are seeing today is the technology and automotive industries coming together to create services that will elevate the driving experience for billions,” said Here CEO Edzard Overbeek. “This is also an important milestone for our Open Location Platform, which is ready to serve as the nerve center for future autonomous vehicles, smart cities and intelligent transportation systems.”

It’s hard to argue with the conclusion that a major feature of the 5G/IoT era will be these smart/connected/autonomous cars. Car makers are desperate to differentiate through technology but the promised marriage between phones and cars has been a long time coming. It remains to be seen just how much real value having all these connected sensors will add to the driving experience but what is undeniable is that momentum is building. The second rule of car club is to bang on about it constantly, as we’re about find out.

  • 2020 Vision Executive Summit

  • LTE Advanced Pro and Gigabit LTE: The Path to 5G

  • TechXLR8

  • 5G North America

  • 5G World

  • Huawei

  • Nokia Corporation


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