Auto and tech align for self-drive solutions
German carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have teamed up with telecommunications firms to fuel infrastructure development for self-driving cars. The three have formed an alliance with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm to accelerate the technology development, Automotive News Europe reports. The new alliance, branded the 5G Automotive Association, is another example of the premium German carmakers collaborating to build technology, necessary to take on new rivals like Uber and Google, which are also working on autonomous driving technology. The alliance will “develop, test and promote communications solutions, support standardisation, and accelerate commercial availability and global market penetration,” the founders say in a statement. Germany’s infrastructure minister Alexander Dobrindt has been quoted as saying the country wants to become the first to set up a comprehensive 5G mobile network, which would be 10 times faster than the current 4G service. A five-point strategy prepared by the ministry calls for all main transport arteries and at least the 20 largest German cities to be fitted with 5G networks by 2025, with key decisions to be made by 2018. Network equipment providers such as Ericsson and Nokia have said the 5G technology currently in development could be available for use as early as next year but mass-market upgrades to mobile networks are not expected until sometime around 2020. Last year BMW, Audi and Daimler joined forces to buy digital mapmaker HERE for NZ$3.1 billion from Nokia. This week, as part of the Paris Motor Show, HERE launched an open location platform, allowing drivers to see what road conditions are like kilometres ahead, using live data contributed by other vehicles.