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5 trends to watch in 5G connected vehicles

Claes Herlitz proposes five pillars that all connected vehicle services should consider for success

5G is here. And while autonomous vehicles get most of the attention, it’s only one way the connectivity, low-latency and fast speed of the latest generation in cellular technology is changing the automotive industry through fully connected cars.

Vehicles are getting connected, electrified, automated and redefined. In-vehicle connectivity is now considered a requirement from the outset. The transition to this intelligent, connected car is here as the vehicle is now its driver’s smartphone, personal assistant, map, traffic reporter and personal DJ. The car is becoming a more personalised and tailored transportation method. Rapid data sharing and management is crucial to many of these innovations, and that can’t be done without reliable, high-speed connectivity.

In the year 2025, there will be an estimated 100 million connected cars

Additionally, what’s enabling many of these leaps forward is decoupling the software from hardware, moving complex computer processing to the cloud in a way that simply wasn’t possible before 5G. Now, the car becomes a software-defined, network-aware, ultra-connected car that will transmit data and ‘interact’ with the road and every other vehicle around it.

Drivers and passengers are hungry for new car experiences, especially when we are starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. We are at the cusp of a new era of the car industry.

Leading car manufacturers and Communications Service Providers (CSPs) like Volvo, Audi, Toyota, TIM, and Telstra have described the importance of connectivity in cars and the ecosystem required to support connected vehicles. For Volvo, connectivity was once just a feature but is now a core part of the entire car offering. According to TIM, in the year 2025, there will be an estimated 100 million connected cars. And for Toyota, the challenge for connected cars is receiving and sending large amounts of data to and from the cloud. Audi expects 5G to make software over the air downloads more reliable for the increasing number of vehicles. Telstra considers that once all cars can communicate with each other, with the surrounding infrastructure, and with pedestrians, the possibilities are unlimited.

At their fingertips, automakers have the tools necessary to succeed in a rapidly transforming transportation industry. Here are several trends to watch as connected cars move into the 5G era.

5 pillars for success in the connected car space

That new car experience, renewed: With software updates throughout the car lifecycle, the car can always be at its best. In the same way that smartphones and computers are updated, a vehicle can also receive updates regularly. Car software update services can fix issues, upgrade the car, improve security or add new functionalities without visiting a car repair shop. Drivers with loyalty to their brand will be looking for companies that have a good understanding of their needs, and can create the best customer experience throughout the lifecycle of a car.

Data is king, and it must be captured: Data insights and analytics can be used to understand customer needs and provide predictive maintenance. Capturing this intelligence gives manufacturers valuable knowledge to adapt services, create innovative applications and improve customer experience.

Once all cars can communicate with each other, with the surrounding infrastructure, and with pedestrians, the possibilities are unlimited

Ensuring seamless connectivity is key: Universal connectivity for automotive is one solution to provide seamless connectivity for connected vehicles and smooth integration with relevant ecosystems. The ability to provide transparency in terms of the subscription cost and one service level agreement for connectivity will be key for successful companies.

Optimise in a smart way: Smart data uploads and downloads at off-peak times and locations give automakers control of costs. Optimising data transfer timing, quality, cost of the connection, differentiating traffic types, as well as scheduling optimal conditions can save costs for automakers and is a trend we expect them to pursue further as the amount of data to and from connected vehicles continues to increase.

Drivers will look for premiumisation: Providing advanced connected services to meet market demands can lead to increased revenue. In a recent Ericsson Consumer and Industry Lab report about the future of commuting, consumers expressed a willingness to pay for premium driver assistance and safety services.

If these trends are combined, car manufacturers are in an even better, stronger, and competitive position to roll out connected cars onto the market and our roads.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Claes Herlitz is Vice President, Head of Connected Vehicles at Ericsson

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