Telecoms and automotive giants form 5G Automotive Association

27 Sep 2016

Busy highway at night. Image: wang song/Shutterstock

Some of the world’s biggest telecoms and automotive companies have agreed to join the 5G Automotive Association, to integrate 5G technology into future connected and autonomous vehicles.

Once two very separate industries, telecoms and vehicle manufacturers are now rapidly merging together with the advent of connected and future autonomous vehicles.

This culmination has resulted in the forming of a new organisation, one that will include the biggest names in the automotive and telecoms industries, known as the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA).

Ahead of a 5G future

The new association includes AUDI, BMW and Daimler from the automotive side; and Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm from the telecoms industry.

The ultra-fast mobile broadband platform remains experimental in many places, but governmental organisations like the EU have put in place plans to roll out 5G into 28 European cities by 2020.

Referred to as cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication, 5G in vehicles will better support mission-critical communications for safer driving. It will do so by handling much greater quantities of data across many devices.

The association has said that its formation will iron out all the regulatory work involved with bringing a new 5G standard into play in these companies’ vehicles, as well as the technical issues that need to be overcome.

One of the biggest issues, the organisation said, will be to ensure data privacy, authentication and distributed cloud architectures are secured in all partnering vehicles.

Daimler and BMW in particular made headlines for this subject earlier this year, after their discussions with Apple to potentially develop the tech giant’s autonomous vehicle project.

Essential for autonomous driving

However, talks between the parties broke down over Apple’s insistence that the car’s data be uploaded to its own iCloud service.

Led by Audi’s Christoph Voigt, the 5GAA has issued a call for other automotive and telecoms industry players to join the group, having already confirmed that several companies have expressed an interest to join in the future.

Speaking on what the founding of the 5GAA means for the participating companies, Dr Christoph Grote of BMW said: “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.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic