5G Automotive Association launched to spearhead European auto technology expertise

grote christoph

German car makers Audi, BMW and Daimler have launched an alliance with mobile telecoms network equipment firms Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm to accelerate development of the infrastructure needed for self-driving cars.

The pact is another example of Germany’s premium carmakers collaborating to build technology expertise necessary to take on new rivals like Uber and Google which are also working on autonomous driving technology.

The new alliance, branded the 5G Automotive Association, will “develop, test and promote communications solutions, support standardization and accelerate commercial availability and global market penetration,” the founders said in a statement.

One of the aims of 5G, the technology standards for the next generation of much faster and more reliable mobile telecoms networks, is to enable a wide variety of devices to connect up and operate via the internet – the Internet of Things.

Network equipment providers such as Ericsson and Nokia have said the 5G technology currently in development could be available for use as early as next year but mass-market upgrades to mobile networks are not expected until some time around 2020.

A spokesman for the newly formed partnership said there were talks with several network operators to join the association, declining to give any names.

As an evolution to today’s networks, next generation mobile networks are expected to handle much more data volume, connect many more devices, significantly reduce latency, and bring new levels of reliability.

For example, 5G can reportedly better support mission-critical communications for safer driving and will further support enhanced vehicle-to-everything communications and connected mobility solutions.

These new solutions are expected to bring new technological and business opportunities for both the automotive and ICT industries, and the members of the association are likely to collaborate closely to realise the full potential together.

Senior vice president – electronics, BMW Group, Dr Christoph Grote (pictured above) explained: “We expect 5G to become the worldwide dominating mobile communications standard of the next decade.

“For the automotive industry, it is essential that 5G fulfils the challenges of the era of digitalisation and autonomous driving. With the 5G Automotive Association we founded a cross-industry forum that allows us to shape the future 5G technology with leading ICT companies.”

Cross-sector collaboration

President, 2012 Labs – Huawei, Dr Li Yingtao commented: “The creation of this association demonstrates the clear need for a cross-sector-collaboration between the mobile and car industry for joint innovation, and to establish a platform to align on timeline and priorities and solution roadmaps.”

With members hailing from Europe, Asia and the US, the 5G Automotive Association is an international association and welcomes more partners who are engaged in the automotive industry, the ICT industry or the broader eco-system and value chain for vehicle and road transportation systems.

Christoph Voigt is appointed chairperson of the Board and Dino Flore is appointed director general of the Association.

The Association will support and work in close cooperation with national and regional initiatives, such as the European Connected & Automated Driving Pre-Deployment Project.

Last year BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen’s Audi, joined forces to buy digital map maker HERE for €2.8 billion ($3.15 billion) from Nokia and this week will introduce a service that allows drivers to see for themselves what road conditions are like miles ahead using live data contributed by other vehicles.