AT&T and Vodafone pool resources on 5G and C-V2X for automotive sector
Vodafone and AT&T are pooling resources to accelerate adoption of mobile technologies in the automotive industry. The pair will collaborate, they said, on 5G and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technologies. The arrangement also covers innovations in connected vehicle systems and intelligent transportation system (ITS) for urban mobility and smart cities.
The goal is to streamline and simplify new cellular-based vehicular technologies for markets with varying requirements and regulations. “It can be complicated for automakers to work across multiple network operators and vendors,” they said in a statement.
The move, announced at MWC 2019 in Barcelona this week, will see them combine their footprints in North America, Europe and Africa for the purpose of the application of LTE and 5G based technologies via manufacturers in the automotive sector, covering network access, roaming, network certification.
Chris Penrose, president of IoT solutions at AT&T, said: “We each have rich experience in connected vehicle technology. By working together, we can innovate faster and help our global customers bring connectivity, entertainment and telematics to more vehicles across our respective footprints.”
Stefano Gastaut, director of IoT for Vodafone’s business group, commented: “As technology complexity increases, this is the right time to make technology adoption easier for the automotive industry to help them achieve their business outcomes. This is the goal of this alliance.”
AT&T and Vodafone have strong relationships in their respective markets via long-time machine-to-machine activities with the automotive, fleet and insurance industries. Combined, the two firms work with around 50 automotive brands, connecting 43 million cars and trucks.
Both are board members of the cross-sector car-and-tech alliance, the 5GAA. AT&T is the connectivity provider to the American Center for Mobility, an advanced automotive development proving ground near Detroit, Michigan. It is also a founding member of Together for Safer Roads, a coalition of global, private sector companies focused on improving road safety and reducing deaths and injuries from car accidents.
Vodafone has been testing C-V2X in Germany for the two years, integrating C-V2X with adaptive cruise control. It has a 5G lab and test track in Germany to work with automotive companies to utilise 5G. The UK based operator has been a fierce critic, along with Ericsson and BMW, of the European Commission’s stance on vehicular communications, which precludes 5G in favour of a single purpose Wi-Fi variant.
Autonomous driving is a feature of every technology show, presently. At CES in January, Ford declared C-V2X is the only way to go for driverless cars. Ford will deploy C-V2X in all of its new vehicle models in the US, starting in 2022. The US car giant joins the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the C-V2X camp, buoyed by Qualcomm’s new 9150 C-V2X chipset, also announced at CES.
Competitor brands like Toyota and General Motors, meanwhile, are backing Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology instead.
For its part, AT&T maintains a tightrope walk between the two camps. “We’re actively engaged with the automotive ecosystem on both sides – because there are different folks in different camps,” Penrose told Enterprise IoT Insights at the end of last year (in a conversation otherwise covered here, here and here).