The news that Samsung snapped up car tech maker Harman for $8bn as a move into driverless car technology came amid a flurry of activity in the connected car market.
In Germany and Korea and at the US connected car auto show, big moves and investments were announced to test networks and driverless vehicles.
Autonomous or driverless connected cars can only operate with the most advanced in-vehicle technology and gigabit plus mobile data transfer rates available on 5G networks.
As Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich says: “each autonomous vehicle will be generating approximately 4,000 GB – or 4 terabytes – of data a day.” (See below)
Germany and Korea are racing ahead with network and vehicle testing.
In Korea, engineers and researchers from SK Telecom were first off the starting grid with a declaration that they had tested the world’s first 5G-connected cars.
The firm said it tested a 5G network over 240,000 sq mts with data rates in excess of 20 gigabytes per second at peak and latency that was sub millisecond.
SK Telecom said it deployed the world’s largest mmWave 5G trial network using the 28GHz band at BMW driving center in Yeongjong Island, Incheon, to demonstrate the world’s first 5G-based connected car, named ‘T5.’
SK Telecom and Ericsson jointly developed and deployed the 5G radio and core network infrastructure to cover the whole driving center.
The news from Korea was swiftly followed by an announcement from Ericsson that a cross industry consortium had been formed between it, BMW Group, Deutsche Bahn and the three mobile network operators Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica Deutschland and Vodafone and German labs and road transport institutes. The consortium is already testing 5G technology which has been deployed on a German test autobahn.
The test track consists of several construction sections on the “Digital Test Field Motorway” in an area of around 30 km between the junctions of Nuremberg-Feucht and Greding, in which the A9 federal motorway and the high speed train route Nuremberg-Ingolstadt-Munich run in parallel, and are covered by the built up test network at the same time, it said.
The infrastructure is already completed in the first partial sections, meaning that live tests can begin immediately.
“5G-ConnectedMobility” creates an infrastructure and a real application environment on a “Digital Test Field Motorway”, above all to carry out tests in the area of vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, digitalization of the railway infrastructure and other applications using 5G technology.
Ericsson said: “For this purpose, “5G-ConnectedMobility” operates within an independent infrastructure, and is not dependent on any commercial network. This means that 5G prototype applications can be installed and tested regularly, in various network configurations, at any time, without restrictions. The dedicated Ericsson 5G mobile network allows live tests of real time applications, even under extreme network loads, and with very high travel speeds at the same time. Test conditions, which are hardly ever found in commercially operated live networks, can be created.”
Professor Frank H. P. Fitzek, Deutsche Telekom Chair of Communication Networks, 5G Lab Germany, said: “There is a great opportunity in this project to test the previously developed technologies of the 5G Lab Germany, with important partners in the field. Connected cars will significantly increase safety in traffic but also require new technologies for the dynamic networks of the future. We are confident of being able to provide the first practical results soon.”
Next: What’s happening in the UK?