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The I.D. family, Volkswagen’s upcoming range of all-electric cars, is set to use the cellular network to drive its autonomous functionality.
The 5G network will allow the cars to communicate with each other and local infrastructure to warn them about driving conditions ahead.
“All future solutions for individual mobility rely on the ability to handle large amounts of data inside and outside the car,” said VW’s head of electronics development, Volkmar Tanneberger, at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. “5G is the key enabling technology to accommodate big data, enhance the user experience and transform the transportation system as a whole.”
The 5G network is an important step in the approach of autonomous driving because of its higher capacity. Unlike the 4G network, 5G is focused on increasing bandwidth, not peak speed, allowing for more users on the network. That should allow for the so-called Internet of Things, in which all sorts of everyday items will be connected to the internet.
The result of all of this communication is that the I.D. family will know of hazards and traffic that are around the corner. Moreover, the I.D. will be connected to just about everything, so powering up, shopping, and good old mobile internet will all be taken care of by the car.
Volkswagen’s decision to use 5G means that it has made the choice not to use competing technology, DSRC (dedicated short range communications). The technology was created specifically for vehicular applications, but requires the creation of a dedicated infrastructure.
The announcement came at CES where Tanneberger spoke alongside U.S. tech supplier Qualcomm’s CEO. Qualcomm and Audi are already working on a similar project in Germany, where an autonomous A7 is driving between Nuremburg and Munich to help develop better autonomous driving systems.