5G internet: fast networks for safer driving

Together with its partners, Audi is developing, testing, and supporting the 5G standard — for ultra-fast mobile communication In an interview, Christoph Voigt, head of connectivity at Audi, explains why 5G is so important and how it forms the basis for the communication between vehicles.

10/02/2019 Reading Time: 3 min

Street in Seoul

Mr. Voigt, Audi is a founding member of the 5GAA, whose goal is to promote the 5G network standard. Why is this so important for an automaker?
Christoph Voigt: As with all mobile communications standards past and present, 5G networks open up whole new opportunities and customer functions. With the help of 5G (Fifth Generation), we will be able to network everything – which obviously also includes the automobile. Plus, Audi has a long track record in mobile communications.

We are traditionally a pioneer in this sector. For instance, we were the first to have UMTS, the first by a long way with LTE and, with the new Audi A8, will now be the first automaker worldwide to bring to market LTE Advanced. Clearly, we want to be at the forefront with 5G internet, too.

Street in Seoul
Less traffic jams and less accidents – thanks to 5G networks: When vehicles communicate with each other, it means greater safety, efficiency and comfort.

And as far as 5G networks go: will that only happen in collaboration with others?
Yes, definitely. Audi played a major role in founding the 5GAA, as 5G will also give rise to a host of other demands that we surely won’t be able to handle alone.

What demands are those?
Previously, combining mobile communications standards with automobile was straightforward because, with the existing mobile communications technologies, we more-or-less just retrofitted the car with a smartphone. But that’s not enough when it comes to vehicle communication because, here, dissemination is the key. The road users and the traffic infrastructure all have to speak the same language if they are to understand each other. This means we have to work together on 5G internet. 5GAA is the first association that truly brings together these two worlds: mobile communications and vehicle.

Car connection with 5G networks
Car connection thanks to 5G networks: In order to recognize hazards on time, Car-to-Car communication is necessary.

What does 5G offer to me as a driver?
The trip will be considerably more entertaining. With the help of high data transfer rates, you will be able to download movies in a matter of seconds or stream in very high quality. By way of illustration: Today, you can download a one-hour film in six minutes. With 5G internet, you’ll be able to do it in six seconds. At the same time, 5G delivers more convenience — if we’re thinking about cooperative driving, for instance. And last, but not least, 5G means more safety for customers. That extends from early pedestrian warning, to safer overtaking maneuvers with video streaming, to better emergency braking.

What changes will a 5G network bring outside the car?
5G is the platform for the future of networking everything with everything — the internet of things. To-date, mobile communications have only been used in private applications. 5G, on the other hand, is also relevant for industry.

For example, in the future, production will take place in smart factories. With the help of the 5G network, it will be possible to reliably monitor robots and machines. They will also be able to use the network to communicate with one another, leading to more flexible and better cooperation. 5G will also be used in energy supply, healthcare, and smart homes.

5G in Ingolstadt


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