BMW’s China arm and state-backed telecoms operator China Unicom have struck a deal to build an Internet of Vehicles based on fifth-generation communications networks as the German auto titan looks to adopt the latest in wireless technology.
BMW China Automotive Trading and China Unicom will use the technology mostly to develop self-driving systems, Tencent News reported today. The pair will build a 5G network to experiment with the system and explore various applications.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 5G commercial licenses to four companies — China Unicom, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Business Network — on June 6, marking the beginning of a new era for telecoms in the country as well as a rapid development opportunity for the Internet of Vehicles and self-driving technology.
BMW plans to start using that technology from July 2021, when certain made-in-China models will have access to China Unicom’s 5G networks, making applications more demanding, more complex and in need of larger data transfers, the report added.
Connected cars will generate masses of data to aid the development of autonomous driving tech, which data centers can analyze in real-time via 5G networks. BMWs can produce up to eight terabytes of data an hour — the equivalent to about 3,600 high-definition movies — and 4G networks simply cannot provide the bandwidth needed to process the data quickly.
Lower latency of 5G networks also allows for more high-speed navigation services and fast-response remote control functions that can enhance vehicle safety, the report added. The networks facilitate car-to-car and car-to-environment connections so vehicles can share data to predict, areas of congestion or potentially dangerous situations.