After artificial intelligence, the new buzzword in the 2019 edition of the MWC was 5G. The automotive industry is obviously no exception to the rule, since the manufacturers at the show frequently mentioned it. After several years of discussion, where are the 5G cars? Is this a winning bet for the automotive world?
Adapting to survive
In order to survive, the automotive industry has no choice but to adapt. Just like man, evolution and constant adaptation to the environment is the cornerstone of survival. We are becoming more connected and this trend will only increase over the years. Consumer needs change too. This is why manufacturers must adapt to 5G by offering a new range of clean, connected, autonomous and, above all, communicating cars.
"In the automotive world and in our cars, I think connectivity is the fundamental and the basis for almost all the features to come in the future. This was not the case in the past where many features were based more or less on individual functionality of the car," explained Dr. Joachim Göthel, Senior Project Manager of Project 5G Alliance at BMW.
The arrival of 5G is, therefore, part of this connectivity that the automotive industry must integrate. It allows vehicles to communicate with each other but also with the environment around them. Simply because 5G allows you to transfer more data in a shorter time.
Europe is a little behind in the race for 5G
Unfortunately, in this race for 5G, not all countries are necessarily moving at the same pace. At this stage of the party, Europe is even a little late. The fault lies with Brussels, which has been slow to agree on a wireless communication standard. Brussels would like Wi-Fi, which is faster to implement, but most market players, especially car manufacturers, would prefer 5G because of its much greater potential to transmit data.
"It is clear that for the moment with the experience we have that progress is more significant in Asia, especially in China where efforts are very aggressive. In Europe, it is a bit of a mess since the European Union has still not decided between 5G and Wi-Fi to connect vehicles to each other. If you are here in Barcelona for the MWC, and you think that Brussels is steering towards Wi-Fi, you really can't believe that," Göthel says.
Despite this disagreement, manufacturers are working to try to convince people of the potential of 5G. BMW, like Ford and Peugeot, within the 5GAA (5G Automotive Association) has signed a partnership with Qualcomm and is increasing its demonstrations of the speed of data transfer from vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and from vehicle to infrastructure (V2I). The Bavarian manufacturer is also already working with the operators. "We are already working with the operators and conducting tests, especially on motorways."
The autonomous car is in sight
The autonomous vehicle is what makes car manufacturers dream! 5G technology promises continuous, real-time information transfer on which manufacturers can rely to develop completely autonomous cars.
The new generation of mobile data connection should greatly assist in the spread of autonomous vehicles, which will lead to changes in the way you use your vehicle. "From now on, with 5G you will have more time to work or to have more time for the family in the car," explains Göthel. It's a trend that can be seen in the concepts of new vehicles, as evidenced by the Volvo 360c concept or BMW iNext. Cars will increasingly become houses on wheels and redefine the use of time and transport.
In any case, the Geneva International Motor Show, which will open on March 7, should be an extension of the Mobile World Congress. There is no doubt that the new products announced and the speakers on site will give pride of place to 5G.
What do you expect from 5G in the automotive world? Let us know in the comments below.