The factory, which will begin constructing electric vehicles in 2021, will use 5G to support everything from automation to safety and efficiency apps

Back in January, General Motors (GM) announced plans to invest $2.2 billion in retooling their Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, preparing it to specialise entirely in the creation of electric vehicles. They dubbed the revamped plant Factory ZERO, after GM’s new philosophy that aims for a future with zero-crashes, zero-emissions and zero-congestion as a result of technological innovation.


At the time of Factory Zero’s announcement, the ‘comprehensive upgrades’ listed by the automotive company included new machines, conveyors, and controls, but had no mention of 5G.


Now, however, it seems that 5G has not been forgotten in the list of upgrades, with GM announcing that they are working with Verizon to incorporate a private 5G network into the plant. The company will be deploying Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service, greatly increasing network speeds and capacity.


“Factory ZERO will be GM’s flagship assembly plant in our journey to an all-electric future,” said Phil Kienle, GM’s VP of North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations. “Installing 5G at Factory ZERO is an essential step in the transformation of this plant, and signals how important advanced manufacturing is in the ongoing race to an EV future.”


Naturally, a modern state-of-the-art factory will be replete with connected devices, from smart sensors and robotics to Automated Guided Vehicles that transport goods throughout the factory – all of which require the reliable, low-latency connectivity delivered by 5G.


The indoor network will not only be used in the manufacturing equipment itself, but will also be used to support the wider use of devices like the new iPhones 12, used to run apps supporting quality, safety and efficiency in the manufacturing environment.


“We’ve opened the door to the 5G era and have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to completely reimagine the future of enterprise,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “Foundational to this is the power of Verizon’s 5G network coupled with our expanding portfolio of enterprise cloud applications and devices, including the powerful, new iPhone 12 lineup.”


The factory will begin production of electric vehicles using GM’s Ultium battery platform towards the end of 2021 and is expected to remain the flagship facility for the company’s electronic vehicle production line, including the upcoming GMC HUMMER EV and the Cruise Origin.


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