Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm have joined forces under the banner of the “5G Automotive Association (5GAA)” to address society’s connected mobility and road safety needs with applications such as connected automated driving, ubiquitous access to services and integration into smart cities and intelligent transportation.
With next generation 5G mobile networks and continued strong LTE evolution, which includes Cellular Vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication, the focus of information and communication technologies (ICT) is shifting towards the Internet of Things and the digitalization of industries.
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 better support mission-critical communications for safer driving and will further support enhanced vehicle-to-everything communications and connected mobility solutions.
These new solutions bring new technological and business opportunities for both the automotive and ICT industries. Members of the association will closely collaborate to realize the full potential together. The association will address key technical and regulatory issues, leveraging next generation mobile networks and integrating vehicle platforms with connectivity, networking and computing solutions.
The main activities of the association include:
Automotive Industries (AI) put some questions to Audi’s Christoph Voigt (Audi), who is Chairman of the 5GAA.
AI: Why was it necessary for all these companies which are industry leaders in their own rights to join forces under the 5GAA?
Voigt: We are a global non-profit association founded by companies from the automotive and the information, communications and telecommunications (ICT) industries. Together, we address topics such as connected vehicle and connected autonomous driving because these areas significantly influence driving in future.
In just the nine months after its founding 5GAA expanded beyond the original founding members to nearly 50, with the board made up of the founding members, additional automotive OEMs and network operators. We are proving that these focus areas can only be addressed and solved jointly across industries and with joint effort from the automotive and ICT players.
AI: What specific challenges have you prioritised?
Voigt: We will push the connected car to the next level. 5GAA prioritizes vehicle-to-x communication, broadly defined as the communication of the vehicle with other vehicles, road infrastructure, networks and pedestrians and their smartphones. Cellular-V2X technology will be the first step to integrate the current vehicle communication platform in a 5G network of the future. 5GAA will enable this future by closely working together with the industry stakeholders, standardization and regulatory bodies.
AI: Where does the car fit into the smart city concept?
Voigt: Communication is key to realize smart cities. Vehicle-to-x communication is a technical prerequisite that cars not only drive autonomously, but also interact with other traffic participants to enable coordinated and cooperative driving. Traffic flow will be optimized, and road safety will improve. AI: Is this part of the roadmap towards autonomous driving?
Voigt: Communication is a crucial part of cooperative and coordinated driving. Autonomous vehicles will integrate information received via communication channels, but will still need to drive safe and autonomous even if communication is down.
AI: How soon will we see 5G in automotive?
Voigt: The road toward 5G networks will be realized with enhanced networks that presage 5G, perhaps as early as 2018. However, these first implementations will focus on mobile broadband. In 2020 and beyond we expect cellular- V2X to be part of the vehicle communication platform and supported in future networks that enable cooperative and coordinated driving. Both human drivers and autonomous driving systems will benefit.
AI: The 5G Automotive Association has become a Market Representation Partner (MRP) in 3GPP, bringing in the influence and expertise of vehicle manufacturers and a variety of important companies from the automotive sector, to the 3GPP environment.
Dino Flore, Director General of 5GAA, signed the partnership agreement. The 5GAA application for 3GPP MRP status stated “It is important to connect the telecom industry and vehicle manufacturers, to develop end – to – end solutions for future mobility and transportation services".
Speaking at the signing ceremony Flore said "the access part is vitally important and we will work on that with 3GPP. In addition to that, we will look at the other pieces required –including the work on upper layers (SDOs including ETSI-ITS, ISO, SAE and IEEE) and security aspects - to develop the system as a whole.”
The work is ongoing in 3GPP, with an initial version of the V2X access specifications in Release 14 and active discussions to define next generation V2X capabilities ongoing.
Susan Miller (3GPP OP Chair, ATIS President and CEO) welcomed 5GAA as a partner and noted the positive effect that Flore’s vast experience in the 3GPP leadership, most recently as the RAN Chairman, will have for the successful integration of the 5GAA in to the 3GPP family. Miller said “5GAA is bringing in the needs of a key vertical at an important time for the project.”