Audi & Ericsson Testing 5G Technology in Vehicle Production

Source: Automotive on August 8, 2018

German automaker Audi and telecommunications specialist Ericsson are teaming up to test the use of 5G technology in automotive production at the car maker’s plant in Ingolstadt, Germany.

The two companies will test the industrial applications of 5G — a communications standard boasting faster data throughput rates and more network capacities, as well as ultra-low latency.

In the first phase of the project, Audi and Ericsson plan to test a latency-critical application using wirelessly connected production robots equipped with a gluing application.

“The fully networked factory will have a significant impact on the production of the future,” Audi’s CIO Frank Loydl notes in a statement. “A powerful network architecture that can respond in real time is of decisive importance for us.”

In the coming months, experts from both companies will run field tests in a technical center at the Audi Production Lab in Gaimersheim, Germany, which will be equipped with Ericsson’s Proof-of-Concept (PoC) network.

The Gaimersheim technical center will test the implementation of 5G technologies using simulated production environment, which mirrors the one found in the Ingolstadt plant.

Ericsson’s PoC network is designed to integrate alternative or complementary technologies to the ones currently in use, including WiFi, wireless LAN or Ethernet connectivity.

The two firms have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with Audi and Ericsson already exploring whether 5G can be used in other Audi Group factories in addition to the Ingolstadt facility, according to a joint statement.

“Ericsson is already running 5G industry programs all over the world to help manufacturers boost productivity and create new business opportunities,” Erik Ekudden, Group CTO at Ericsson, wrote in a statement. “This project is a great opportunity to see what is possible when we bring 5G into an automobile production environment to truly enable smart wireless manufacturing.”

Audi has embarked on a spate of partnerships so far this year, teaming up with telecom specialist Huawei to more deeply integrate the Chinese company’s technology into new connected and self-driving vehicles.

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