The new deal will see selected Audi vehicles rolled out with embedded 5G connectivity capabilities from 2024
This week, Audi of America and Verizon have announced a new partnership, aiming to use Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband connectivity within Audi vehicles to enable augmented mobile services and new driving-assistance features, paving the way for the automated vehicles of the future.
According to Verizon, embedding 5G connectivity capabilities within the vehicles should allow for a variety of novel and improved services for customers, including the faster and more reliable streaming of video services, improved safety features, and additional driving support systems.
These vehicles’ capabilities will continue to evolve further once already in use, with software and firmware updates delivered over the air.
“Audi drivers will be among the first in the world to experience a new generation of automobiles, one in which their car is both a 5G mobile device and a vehicle,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “We’re proud to bring our transformative 5G networking expertise to a visionary partner like Audi, whose premium automotive engineering deserves second-to-none 5G technology to match.”
Perhaps most interesting here is the companies pledging to co-develop cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology, allowing the car to wirelessly communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure, providing the driver with additional information. In the short term, this technology will largely be used to improve in-vehicle safety by giving the driver more information about their surroundings, but in the long term it will be crucial to the development of automated vehicles.
To facilitate this aspect of their 5G vision, Verizon is already partnered with all three major cloud providers – Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services – which will provide the required mobile edge computing services.
These tie ups between car manufactures and operators are becoming more common around the world. Last year, for example, AT&T signed a similar agreement with General Motors, with the automotive manufacturer’s Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC models to be equipped with 5G capabilities from 2023.
In Europe, Deutsche Telekom announced just this week that they have deepened their partnership with BMW, allowing customers to link their BMW iX and BMW i4 vehicles to Telkom’s 5G network for the first time via their MobilityConnect service.
Meanwhile, in China, numerous automakers are already engaged in 5G. General Motors, for example, says it hopes to launch 5G-connected vehicles in China as early as this year.