Vodafone has joined the fledgling 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), a cross-industry association of telecoms and automotive firms looking take the cellular Internet of Things (IoT) on the road.
The UK-based telecoms firm has become a ‘platinum member’ of the consortium and is the first operator to sign up. Luke Ibbetson, its Group Head of Research and Development and Technology Strategy, will join the Board of the Association.
The 5GAA was established in late September by Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm.
Its stated aim is to address the requirements of “cellular vehicle to everything”, or ‘C-V2X’, technology, which will underpin the IoT-vision of an ‘intelligent transport system’ (ITS), where vehicles and street furniture are in communication, and improve congestion and road safety, and, in time, enable automated driving.
Vodafone has started testing cellular C-V2X, which includes LTE-V2X, on a test track in the UK. It is developing plans to extend the trial in Germany. Part of its focus has been to test the security, privacy and authentication of its V2X connectivity.
Ibbetson said: “The communication between vehicles, infrastructure and pedestrians using C-V2X will be fundamental to the creation of intelligent transport systems. The technology that the 5GAA develops can lead to major improvements in driving and road safety.”
Dino Flore, Director General of the 5GAA, said: “Vodafone’s industry leadership and cellular network operator’s perspective is an important addition to the 5GAA, and it will significantly contribute to the successful development of the connected mobility ecosystem.”
5GAA activities are to be organised into five working groups: use cases and technical requirements; system architecture and solutions; business models and go-to-market strategies; tests and pilots; and standardisation, policy and certification.
Vodafone said last week it has struck a deal with BMW to install a Vodafone IoT SIM card on its latest-model K1600 GT motorbikes, enabling emergency calls and automatic collision notifications in the event of accidents.
In June, Qualcomm, one of the 5GAA founders, unveiled a new reference platform, incorporating LTE and satellite connectivity, to help car manufacturers adopt increasingly complex levels of connectivity.