Good old 3G is at the top of the news cycle these days as it’s finally going into the sunset.
Automakers have sounded the alarm that the move would destroy all sorts of important features in their vehicles, but so far few have proposed solutions. Audi and Verizon are well down that road, however, as the two have announced a partnership to add 5G technology to upcoming models from the German automaker.
It’s unclear when the services will make their way into a vehicle, but Verizon says it has more than doubled its 5G deployment in 2021 and notes that it plans to expand aggressively going forward.
“Audi drivers will be among the first in the world to experience a new generation of automobiles where their car is both a 5G mobile device and a vehicle,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, in a press release.
Cellphones and connected devices got a huge speed boost when 4G debuted more than a dozen years ago, but 5G promises to blow all that out of the water and open a new world of connected services for cars. Audi says the technology will allow passengers to stream and download faster than before, and notes that its vehicles will be updated via over-the-air software. The higher speeds also enable advanced mapping capabilities with high-resolution and 3D displays. So, no more pinch-and-zoom to read a street name in an unfamiliar location.
Audi notes that 5G opens the door for better Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technologies in its vehicles. Cellular capability allows vehicles to communicate with each other and nearby infrastructure, which could help improve safety. It’s also a stepping stone for more capable autonomous vehicles, as they require strong and fast data connections to communicate and negotiate with the world around them.
“Audi was the first automaker to bring in-vehicle Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity to customers in the A3 in 2015, and we will be among the first to bring next-generation connectivity to our customers in the US,” he said Filip Brabec, Senior Vice President, Product Planning, Audi of America, in a press statement.
Now that even budget cell phones are offering 5G connectivity, it’s time for the automotive world to get on board. The Audi-Verizon partnership won’t be the last collaboration we see, and efforts will intensify as more robust autonomous driving technologies are developed. Faster data transmission will be critical if we hope to have vehicles that “understand” what’s going on and make real-time decisions about how to navigate live traffic. However, it’s worth noting that despite the aggressive development of 5G networks in the US, it’s still not as widespread as 4G and 3G were in their heyday.
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